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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.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hearts quilt finished

This one took longer than I thought it would.

A heart vine around the border. When I was doing the very last heart I put a vein in it like a leaf. I don't know why. I will pick it out. LE lace on the inside border and loops on the sashing. The inside border and sashing are one inch. Orange thread was used because it's the dominant color of the quilt.

Before I take a quilt off the machine, I look it over carefully to see if I missed anything. I thought this quilt was finished; but, when I looked at the hearts I saw all this fullness. Look at the sashing seam to see what I mean. It bothered me to see that much fullness in the blocks. The customer probably wouldn't care but I do.

I went back and stitched in the ditch around all the sashing and all the hearts. There was a lot of stops and starts in doing this quilt. Now that looks much better. Hmm... is that a flower, a ribbon, or a butterfly design? It depends on how you see it.

A view from the back. Very bright and hard to see the stitching. Also, its very orange.

I never made it to the courthouse as I had planned. A friend came over to work on my DVD player. It wasn't working anymore. So while he worked on it, I kept quilting. There was a lot of dust inside the player. No wonder it quit working. Quilting dust gets into everything!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Taking control of the schedule

I worked with my calendar again. I started with a few lists.

Next I pulled out every quilt I have waiting in the studio. I listed them by size and difficulty. Can you believe that not one of them is scheduled for pantograph quilting? Everything is custom or heirloom. I moved them back into the storage drawers by priority. There are 25 of them.

Then I created tiny post its for all the quilts to be done and for all the activities I need or want to do for the next few months. Why post its instead of writing on the calendar? (smile) So I wouldn't use so many erasers of course. Post its are easily moved around. I was doing too much erasing.
I put the must do on first followed by the want to do items. Fridays are for shopping and babysitting. I've been taking my SIL every other week. The other Fridays are for my granddaughter to be here. Sundays are usually for me to relax. Saturdays are usually teaching days. You can see I added in the trips I will have to be chauffeur for my brother when he has to go to the doctor. If the day isn't right it will be easy to schuffle the post its around.

Next it was time to add the quilting work. I tried to schedule an easy one next to a difficult one but not very many look like they will be easy to do.

So here is the last of February with it's schedule.

This is what March looks like.

This is what April looks like. If the schedule changes, I just move the post it notes around until it all fits again. For example I have my brother's doctor trip scheduled on my calendar for Wednesday. If his appointment is on a different day then I switch it with one of the quilting days.

I won't bore you with the other months because they are pretty much the same all the way through December. Geeze, the rest of February already needs shuffling because I must go to the courthouse either tomorrow or Wednesday to file for a state appointed guardian for my mother. That will probably use up most of one day which can't be used for quilting or teaching.

Then today I spent about 3 hours ridding my blog of those dreaded attachment sites. If you don't know what I mean.... they are sites that are attached to a blog through the comments and will redirect a reader to the unwanted sites instead of seeing the blog. I had nearly 30 of them on different older posts. It took me a while to locate them all. I've set up the comments to be sent by letter recognition only. This eliminates the automatic mining of my site by undesirable people.
I did spend a little time relaxing Sunday evening. I painted my cardboard furniture piece. I'm going to put this away for awhile and think about starting another piece. This one was created only to help me remember the steps involved. I made several mistakes in creating it which I won't make in creating the next piece.

The quilt I have on the machine is taking longer than I thought it would. The next one on the machine will be this one. An issue quilt. See the very friendly border?

Ok, I think I best get to bed so I can get an early start in the morning.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I needed thread and a new schedule

My brother, his wife, and I decided we needed some time together to discuss the options for Mom. We all went out for breakfast yesterday so we could sit and talk. It appears we will have no other choice but to allow Mom to be sent out of state. None of us are capable of handling her special needs ourselves. There are only a very few nursing homes around the country set up to handle patients like her. (Paranoid bipolar disorder) None are located in Kentucky. We may want to visit her but her special needs are more important than our wants.

Before Mom can be sent out of state we need to go to court and get her a state appointed guardian for the new state. This will remove the burden from me to go sign papers when hospitalization is needed. We don't know which state she will be sent to yet because we have to wait for an opening at one of the facilities. There is a facility located in Indiana that is just a couple of hours drive from Louisville so we are hoping she will be placed there.

Mom isn't going to be moved until there is an opening..... we hope. If an opening doesn't come up soon, we may be forced to take her into our own home which neither of us can actually do. The nursing home can give us a 30 day court notice to have her removed. It's kind of like an apartment eviction notice. So somehow I've got to make room in my schedule for doing what is needed to assure my mother gets placed into another facility when the time comes..... which could be at any time.

On the way home my brother stopped at Hancock fabrics so I could pick up some thread. I was out of some colors and running very low on others. I seriously needed to restock. You think I bought enough?

Today I will sit and work with my schedule and calendar again. My previous post may have sounded like I was complaining.... but I wasn't. I was just shocked that I had gotten so booked up so fast. It's really not like me to not be paying attention to my schedule. All I can say is that all the "life happenings" over the past few months had clouded my vision and judgement.

I hadn't realized I was so overbooked until I visually saw it written out on the calendar. I was shocked at myself for not allowing any time for my own wants and needs too. While I was out yesterday, I bought a new calendar. (smiling) Nothing is written on it so nothing scheduled yet. A clean calendar to start reworking my schedule. You ever tried finding a current year calendar in late February? It's not easy to find one. I got lucky and found one on the discount table for half price. Hmm... a bargain is always good.
Hopefully by the end of the day I will have everything all sorted out and much more practical. Some things will have to be dropped for now because new things..... like court appearances for Mom.... are going to have to be worked in there someplace. I will post about how I do my schedule when I get it finished. It will probably be a good post for my helpful hints blog.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another one is finished

The owner was supposed to be here yesterday to pick it up but didn't make it.

I did a feather swag on the outside border.

Another view of the swag.

I did a feather design on the solid squares and line dancing on the pieced squares and a simple swag design on the inside border.

A view from the back showing the feather design and the inside border swags.

A view from the back of the outside border.

I cooked more of the food from the freezer... in between customer visits. I hope I wasn't too rude when I kept saying "excuse me while I go check the food on the stove" several times. I also cut apart and stored all the cardboard in a back room. If I could only find more time to work with it.

My brother was cleaning up downed tree limbs a few days ago when another branch came down on him. It twisted his knee cap and he will probably have to have surgery to fix it. I'll be his chaufer to the doctor for 6 weeks if he has surgery.

As if I didn't have enough on my schedule already; the nursing home says my mother has to be moved to another facility. They want to send her to northeast Ohio to a nursing home there. They tell me they couldn't find not even one nursing home any closer than that capable of handling her special needs. How on earth am I supposed to go visit her so far away from me??
Moving her from here to all the way up there is like telling me that I will never see my mother alive again. Geeze, don't those people understand city buses don't travel that far?? Northeast Ohio is not one of the scheduled TARC bus stops. And just how am I supposed to go sign her into a hospital when it's needed? If that nursing home can't take her then she may have to be sent to a state out west someplace.
In order to find a nursing home closer to me means I will have to put in lots and lots of time on the phone. Time that won't be spent quilting. If I really can't find some place closer then she will have to go where they are equipped to handle her.

Yesterday, I took a look at my waiting list to see which quilt is next. I couldn't make heads or tails out of it. Some that were scheduled to be here in January have just now shown up. Some that are not scheduled until April have shown up already. Some that were due to be finished back in December are still being worked on. Some people that were scheduled for only 1 top decided to bring 3 or 4 instead because they didn't understand how the list works. Some that planned on bringing small quilts brought queen or king size. I found myself thoroughly confused by my own waiting list. Everyone is extremely nice saying... "Do them when you have time." That sounds very nice in theory but the reality is very different.

I took my calendar and worked with it for a couple of hours. I inserted names on the calendar based on the waiting list names and what I have already here in the studio. Hmmm.... I kind of suspected this in January but seeing it on the calendar confirms it. I'm completely booked for the rest of the year; with lots of overtime in the future too. Yes, I do mean all the way through December xmas rush. I couldn't find even one day off for at least 3 months. Awww.... gee whiz.... there has to be time off in there somewhere! I'll have to work with the calendar again because I can't live like that. No one can.

Here are just a few of the things that I have not scheduled on the calendar yet:

Classes at the quilt shop as promised

Classes in private homes as promised

Classes here at my house as promised

Time with my kids and grandkids - this is a definite!

Quilt shows I'd like to attend

Fair attendance days


Lunches with friends

Piecing charity quilts

Piecing grandkid quilts

Contest quilts

Machine maintenance

Window quilts and other weatherizing stuff

Visiting my mother

Doctor visits and yearly exams

Yard work

Sick days
Family chaufering
Blog posting
Creating cardboard crafts
Making rugs

There are many other things I really want time for doing.... but WHEN am I going to do them?? My quilting schedule and waiting list seriously need redesigning! It's not working the way it should. I have to start practicing forming these words more often......
"No, I'm sorry, I just can't."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What a day

Whew!  What a day it was.

I had decided I couldn't do any quilting until I had cleaned out the freezer and gotten rid of all the ruined foods. I called my neighbor to carry the heavy stuff out to the trash cans.

Half of what was in the freezer belongs to my daughter. She shops my freezer once a week to put into her refrigerator like I do. She also helps stock up the freezer with foods she uses but mostly it's me that finds the bargains to stock the freezer. She works full time and attends college classes at night. Some of her food choices are convenience foods for when her schedule doesn't allow scratch cooking time. She was as upset as I was about loosing the foods.

When I was cleaning out my freezer and pitching the lost food I kept wondering why the alarm hadn't sounded. I checked and sure enough it was on. It's still under warranty so I called to find out what might have happened. A repairman is scheduled to be here on Saturday to replace the faulty alarm. He believes its the switch instead of the wiring. Shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to replace it.

Just to be sure I don't forget to keep the door closed again.... I made myself a sign. Can't miss it when I open the door from now on.

I didn't loose absolutely everything as I had thought. When I was pitching stuff I realized some food was still fully frozen. I had it packed very tight so it was like a very large chunk of ice. It takes longer to thaw. Other foods were only partially thawed so those can be saved. This is the chicken that was saved. I couldn't restack it as tightly as I had it before though.

So that no reader thinks I may be going hungry, here is a look inside the refrigerator freezer. Plenty of food in there too.

Well anyway I decided to cook what could be saved and refreeze it again after cooking. I started with the biscuits. Cooked them and wrapped them individually so my daughter can take out what she wants for individual meals.

Then baked a bunch of chicken that had only partially thawed. I'll cut this up into smaller pieces and refreeze to be used in soups or casseroles.

Next up was the cookies..... lots and lots of cookies! I believe there is about 10 dozen in these two bowls cooling off waiting to be repackaged and refrozen.

I was all set to start cooking some of the pork and beef when who should show up to help NaNa eat some of the cookies? Why its Ladybug of course! What's a grandmother with plenty of fresh baked cookies to do without someone to enjoy them?

Mommie had class to attend and Daddie had to work mandatory overtime so NaNa had company for the night. Then a friend delivers more cardboard. Hmm.... really nice big pieces.... but where am I going to put these until I have time to work with it? Some of it is 4 x 8 feet boxes. They will just have to wait on the table until I finish with other things.

I did work for awhile on the quilt that's on the machine. I really, really need to get the quilt finished today because it's to be picked up tomorrow. I really, really need to finish cooking the foods that thawed so I don't loose it. I really, really need to cut up the cardboard to get it off my working table so I can have room to put the binding on the quilt before the owner shows up tomorrow. I really, really need to get my life more organized. I really, really need to get my act together!

Aww heck, I think I really, really need a nice hug from Ladybug. It's time to get her up, fed, and dressed for daycare. Nothing is quite like a smile and a hug from a baby just waking up in the morning..... refreshed, bright eyed, and ready for a full day of exploring the world.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I went to the big freezer to move some items from it to my refrigerator freezer. These would be my meals for this week. That's when I noticed it. The door was ajar and everything in it had thawed out. I haven't been in the big freezer for at least a week. Right before the last wind storm. I don't know when or how the door became opened. I must not have closed it properly the last time I had it open.

I can't believe this is happening to me......AGAIN. My homeowner insurance deductible is higher than the food I lost so I won't file a claim. I'm not sure it would be covered by carelessness either.

There's no way to know for sure how long it's been thawed out. The brown stuff in the bags used to be bananas. They were very pretty and yellow but now they are a mushy brown mess.
There is only a few items I can salvage. I have flour, cornmeal, bread, and some chocolate candy that are not damaged by thawing.

I would be too afraid to try eating anything else.

This is devastating to my budget. No way do I want to start refilling it again anytime soon. It will remain empty and unplugged for a few months while I figure out what to do. Maybe I can use it to store fabrics or cardboard or something.

It's waiting on me

This one is loaded onto the machine. I put it on there Friday and did just enough quilting for it to be ready for today.

Yesterday's guild meeting went well. Only a few details left to do on some of the challenge quilts. It was a little sad telling everyone I was dropping out of the group.
I'm still behind schedule but the overtime work is helping me get caught up. I'm hoping that things will smooth out by the end of this month. I also hope there isn't another illness or another power outage problem for a long, long time!
If I can stay ahead of the work for the next couple of months; I believe I can finally do some 2009 organizing. I spend a great deal of time thinking before actually doing anything to organize. I make notes and sketches of what I want to get organized and how. This helps when I finally get down to the actual doing part.
I hear the machine calling me to get in there to work.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cardboard cabinet.... another update

I worked some more on my cardboard cabinet. I finished the rest of the construction. Then I finished covering all the edges with paper tape. I had tried using masking tape but that didn't work. It wouldn't stay stuck to the cardboard.

Next I started putting the tissue paper coating on it.

The tissue paper coating smooths out the rough edges of the paper tape and any nicks or dings in the cardboard. A smoother finish means it will look less like cardboard and more like wood when it's painted. Did you notice one dawer has a different color? I tried a different type of paper coating. I'm going to remove that drawer front and make a new one before I do the painting.

I decided not to use the holes in the four corners. I didn't like the look I was getting. I'll cover the holes with some type of decorative accent.

I was discussing this cabinet with one of my customers a few days ago. I explained that constructing cardboard furniture wasn't exactly cheap. Even though cardboard can be found just about anywhere for free; the cost of the other materials to make something can be expensive if you are on a limited income. She asked me why I went to the trouble of constructing something out of cardboard when I could easily find what I need at a thrift store or at Ikea.

I've thought about this question ever since our conversation. I guess I like cardboard because I like it's flexibility. Cardboard (and paper) can be manipulated in many different ways to create unique art pieces. The fact that it creates something functional at the same time appeals to me as well.

Her question is sort of like asking a quilter.... why make a quilt when you can go to the store and buy a blanket? It's the thrill of the creation that's really the appeal.

The initial expense of gathering tools and materials for constructing cardboard furniture is like that of any other hobby. Before anyone can get really good at a hobby they must first have the proper tools and gadgets. Beginner quilters will start buying cutting mats, rotary tools, templates, books, and lots of fabrics for making quilts. Before long they have had some practice so they are becoming good at making quilts.

When a quilter decides to redecorate they will gather just the right pattern and fabrics for their idea of the perfect quilted items to go in their space. When I create a piece of furniture out of cardboard I'm also choosing the design that will fit perfectly in the space and with the perfect function. Even though the cost of constructing a cardboard piece can be initially expensive.... it's by far cheaper than paying for a custom designed and made piece of wood furniture. It's also uniquely my art, not someone else's idea of how I should decorate my space.

Yup, she's gonna be a quilter

Keeping with my goal to "have a life" this weekend; I don't have any finished quilts to show you. I was supposed to spend a day with my daughter but plans had to be changed. She had quite a bit of studying to do for her college class. So I babysit while she went to the library to do some research and study.

When my grandaughter was only a few days old I was holding her in one of those papoose type things while I worked at my machine. She watched very intently. When she was a few weeks old, she was entertained by a quilt in progress hanging on my design wall.

Now that she's a year old and not content to stay in a playpen anymore; she's exploring the studio. Oooo.... NaNa.... lookie what I found!

Like any quilter she wants to play with fabric. Natually, fabric must be layed out or stacked up. (Don't we all do this with our fabrics?)

Look how intently she studies what she's found in the drawers.

I must admit she kept me entertained for quite a long time just watching her examine each piece of fabric she found. She was not quick with any of this. Each piece of fabric was touched and looked at very carefully. She didn't even notice the flash of the camera.
After Mommie picked her up and it was quiet here again; I played with my cardboard. I had forgotten there is a guild meeting today so that will be today's activities. Tomorrow I'll get back to work on the quilts.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Three more quilts are done

One got away from me before I took it's picture. All three were for the same person. This is the second one finished.

I put a swag design around all the blocks and stitch in the ditch around everything.

I did a curly vine on the sashing.

A feather type design on the outside border. This is a view from the back.

Another view from the back showing the swag design and the stitch in the ditch.

The third finished quilt is this one.

I did freehand sailboats around the outside border. I used chalk to mark the bottom of the boats so I could keep them fairly close to equal size.

I did a meander with balloons on one of the inside borders and le lace on the other inside border.

Then I did a ribbon design on the sashing, simple meander inside the blocks, and stitch in the ditch around everything.

Here's a view from the back.

Yesterday someone reminded me that I had given myself permission to say yes to less this year. Yes I did and that's still my goal. So let me explain why have I been working so many hours this month. It started with the quilts scheduled to be done in 2008 that I just couldn't get finished. My illnesses, my surgery, the power outage for several days, and a few other things happened that got me very far behind schedule.
By December I had several quilts that needed to be finished; but, I simply couldn't get caught up. Thank heavens for very understanding customers. Those quilts got pushed back to after Christmas, meaning to be done in January and February, which were already booked for the new year. Had I been able to predict the future; I would not have scheduled anything for January and February. My psychic powers had failed me and I didn't know so many things would happen in 2008.
Then there is this....

The tree branches hanging on the power lines. When it was first told on the news that we might have another wind storm (a few days before it came through) I wanted to get work finished before I might loose power for a few days. There wouldn't be any way for me to predict how long I might be without electricity if the lines went down. No power means no work finished. Being without power again would be yet one more thing to get me even farther behind schedule.
So there I was, many quilts behind schedule and facing a possibility of even more delays. Well, I set my mind to go into Christmas rush mode and work extra long hours to get as much work finished as possible before I might loose power. I'm also hoping to be back on schedule by the end of February. It's unfair to those who trusted me to get their quilts finished in November and December if I don't have them done by March.... don't you think? It's already the middle of February and some December work is still not finished.
Some days when I head for the studio I'm just not too anxious to go to work. Know what I mean? I know the work must be done but my mind is saying take a day off. No one wants to work perpetual overtime. I choose a reward for myself. I tell myself that if I get this much done in a week then the weekend is for other fun stuff.... the reward. I did accomplish my quilting goals for this week. This week's rewards are to have a day of visiting with my daughter and a day of playing with cardboard.

Yes, I tell myself, I can work the weekend and get even more work finished; but, I do want some other things in my life too. If there are no more unplanned delays for the next couple of weeks; I should be back on schedule. My new schedule is much lighter than any previous year. I still can't get my psychic powers to work though. I don't know what this year's delays will be.
I did loose power for a few hours during this wind storm. Not because of those branches, they are still hanging. I lost power due to a transformer down the street. I got lucky and that was fixed right away so my electricity came on by about 11 am. A few hours delay is not nearly as bad as several days. Many other people in this area were not so lucky, they will be without power for much longer. Hmm.... upgrading all the Kentucky power lines might be a good thing to do to stimulate the economy with lots of jobs? But.... who's going to listen to a little old lady quilter......