Welcome to my blog

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.


Friday, July 31, 2009

So is it a garage or a home?

You've probably read me type talking about how my house always feels like a garage. I've said many times that my house is filled to the max with STUFF. You've read me say that every available space holds something that I believe to be useful, or that I paid good money for, or someone special gave to me. Am I right?

Well this morning I stood looking at the next bunch of stuff to sort and re organize and got to thinking.... if this house is a garage..... where is my home? Where is the place where my family and friends can gather? Where do I go to relax from a day of machine quilting? Where are the photos of my hugh family of kids, grand-kids, and great-grand-kids? Where am I in this garage? Where are the things that show who I am? Not just a professional quilter but a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and a friend to many. Where's my personality in this place?

Next I had to ask myself..... is what make me, me really in the boxes at the bottom of all this stuff? What I mean is.... are all the things that make a house a home really stored away in my closets and under beds or even inside a cabinet? In my case, yes. I don't have a single picture or nick nack anywhere. It's all in boxes.

Could this be a carry over from my childhood? When I was a child I rarely unpacked more than a few clothes because I knew very soon I would be shipped off to another relative or orphanage. If I didn't unpack then I felt no attachment when leaving. It hurt less.

When my daughter and I moved into this house I kept every memory I could find a place to hide it. For heavens sake, I have every school paper she ever brought home.... including some from college. The same with my other kids.... all the papers from their childhood. Not to mention some favorite toys, pretty rocks they brought to show me, dried weeds they gave me as flowers, my son's wood carving attempts, inherited items from the people I remember but my kids don't, and photos of trees, flowers, and buildings I saw on vacations many years ago.
Also there are fabrics that have been given to me or I bought at one time or another. Bunches and bunches of fabrics; depending on what design phase I was going through at the time. I have gizmos and gadgets I collected from every bunch of quilting stuff donated by the fabric fairies.
Why can't I get rid of it? The stuff I don't or won't use in the near future? Why can't I get rid of the excess of craft related items that are just too much? Why do I hesitate throwing away a good piece of cardboard or a pretty piece of fabric even though it could easily be replaced?
Perhaps because everything has a some value to me. Value gives me an excuse to keep everything. For example: Someone gave it to me and I don't want to hurt their feelings if I toss it. It belonged to someone I remember fondly and want to honor their memory. It belongs to someone else and I can't get rid of it without their permission. I might need it someday if we have a world catastrophe. The biggest excuse of all.... it cost me money and if I throw it away it's like saying the money was wasted.
At some point I've got to unpack my real life and get rid of the STUFF that's taken over my happiness. It's time for me to move the garage out of my house and make this my home. Gosh, I've lived here for over twenty years, I think it's high time I made it a real home and stopped living as if I'll be leaving it soon. My real life needs to come out of the boxes in the closet and from under the beds.
Why don't I just rent a storage space to put it all? Well think about it. As a society we gather STUFF and then need organizer stuff to store it. We get a bigger house so we can buy and store more stuff and buy more organizer containers. When we can't buy a bigger house we try to pack 5 rooms of stuff into one room so we can make more room for more stuff. An off site storage facility is like buying another piece of real estate so we can pack it with more stuff.
I've decided it's time to unpack my life and stay awhile. There are people reading my blogs that might recognize something I'm moving out of my garage. To them I say.... I'm sorry, but I need my life back. I don't want this to be one big studio or storage facility. I want my family and friends to be welcome.... without me being embarrassed by the piles of STUFF.
Most readers know my daughter and grand-daughter are moving back home this fall. Over the next few weeks I will be going through everything in my house to make room for them to live here. I don't want my grand-daughter with memories of NaNa's house being only boxes of stuff stacked everywhere. It should be a place of comfort and fond remembrances of me. The cookies we will bake together and the games we will play on the floor and any other memories we can create together. The same goes for all my other grands. I want their memories of Granny's house to be warm and comforting instead of cramped and strange.
I want their memories of me to be like that of a happy Christmas song...... over the hills and through the woods to grandmother's house we go..... laughing all the way.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nine to go

The last few days I've stayed off the computer (except to post) and working steady on this quilt. I had talked with the owner last Saturday and she wanted to pick it up Thursday. It's the only day she can come. Could I have it done by then? I told her yes I could have it ready. I had one on the machine I needed to finish first and then I'd start on hers.

I called last night to tell her I had it finished and that I would be home today. No doctor appointments. She tells me she can't come until next Tuesday or Wednesday. As a professional quilter, I get this a lot. Rush, rush, rush to accommodate a customer.... the customer changes their plans without telling me. This is how some of the stress of quilting for others happens.

Oh well.... it's one more to cross off the waiting list countdown.

The pictures are already cracking and peeling away from the fabric. I found out that the customer's son made this quilt for his wife for their first anniversary next month. It's his first quilt. Not bad for a beginner. The saying across the top says.... God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you. Awwww..... that's nice.

I put a feather around the border.

Flowers around the words and curly ribbons on the sashing.

Flowers on the corners of the blocks around the photos.

Another look at the flowers.

Larger flowers on the blocks without photos. I did large open flowers so they would not be quilted too tight. The photos are not quilted and I wanted the blocks to have fairly even density.

This is the flower block from the back. I think this is a Pam Clarke flower design. Could be a Diana Phillips one though.

A look at the corner flowers and the ribbons from the back.

This is the photo blocks from the back. It leaves a gap in the quilting when there are photos on quilt tops.

One more photo from the back. Can you see how these make it look as if I didn't finish the quilting? I'll be glad when the photos on quilt fad goes away.

In my haste to make a post then get back to quilting, I failed to explain how my daughter can save money by moving home. Right now she pays 800 a month rent. To me, that's a house payment. It was far more than she could afford so I've been helping her. Sometimes a mother has to let the kids learn from their mistakes. Her lease is up in October and she can hardly wait. She tells me constantly that she should have listened to me instead of baby's daddy about the apartment.
She pays 100 a month for utilities. Mine were 260 but are being reduced to 170 due to the insulation work I had done. Baby's daddy pays day care, cell phones, and cable bills. This amounts to a little over 1100 a month. Both buy groceries.
My mortgage payment is 400 a month. If she gives me 200 on the mortgage and 100 on the utilities she still comes out with quite a bit to save for a house each month. She should also be getting an end of year bonus, a raise, a tax rebate, and a small settlement on the accident. The one when she was hit by a drunk driver. Baby's daddy will continue to pay the day care. He's moving back with his parents. She will start paying her own cell phone bill. I already have cable. We both know how to bargain shop for things and how to make meals from almost nothing. She has no debts at all although she is still in college.
She has already researched houses. She knows how much she can afford and how much she wants to put down on it. On her salary, an 800 a month mortgage payment is not going to happen. She will go with a smaller, cheaper house and a larger down payment. She came up with the plan all on her own. I'm so proud! When explaining her plan to me she said...... see Mom, I really was listening to what you taught me when I was growing up. I can do it the same way we did it before. I'm so proud!
How long she stays here is up to her. I'm always glad to have my kids near me for whatever reason. About the only time we don't get along together is when she has PMS. Oooo is she really cranky! I stay out of her way. If things don't go exactly as she planned we can work it out.
Now here is when I need to tell you about how it was I came to have this house. It's sad for me to tell it but is important to know in order to understand why my daughter will succeed with her plan. When my daughter was about three, one of my sons was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He fought a brave battle for almost a year. He died at age 14.
Near the end of his battle, I couldn't be with my son at the hospital and working at the same time. So I gave up my house by quit claim deed and my daughter and I moved into a homeless shelter. The older boys lived elsewhere. In a shelter I didn't have to think about paying rent or buying groceries. I had the freedom to be with my son.
After my son's death, I started plans to buy another house. This one. When I first saw it you could barely tell it was a house. It had been abandoned and was nearly falling down. I contacted a construction company and worked out a deal. If they would buy this house from the city and fix it up... I would buy it. I knew it was in a bad neighborhood but it was what I knew I could afford. I asked them to give me one year to get enough for the down payment and closing costs. Each month I would show them how much I had in my savings and they would show me what they were doing to the house. If I failed to get the money I needed then the house could still be sold.
I don't think they believed me at first but slowly saw my determination. Each morning my daughter and I would get into my raggedy car and start traveling through alleys, behind schools, and behind stores collecting aluminum cans. Soon we expanded to going into a new subdivision being built and picking up small pieces of copper wire the construction crews threw on the ground. The same construction company I had contacted was building several of those houses in the suburbs. Each evening we would take what we had found to the recycling center to sell and then a trip to the bank to put it into our savings.
How I taught my daughter to pick up every can and every piece of wire she found was to tell her it was worth a nickle. At four years old, a nickle is a whole lot of money. All those nickles would buy us a house with her own room.... complete with princess furniture. It worked like a charm.
Soon the construction crews and those who lived along our alley route started noticing her picking up aluminum cans and copper wire. Some got mad and ran us off but others asked us questions. I think she won the hearts of the construction men when she told them she was picking up nickles for her new house. Her brother, the angel, was helping to build it. They started putting cans and pieces of wire in a cardboard box with her name on it. I had to tell her it was her name. I could see the men peeking around the corners as she ran to get her box of nickles. Sometimes there would be a hand full of change or a small toy in there too. She would squeal with delight. Mommie look! Mommie look!
Four months after my son's death I managed to get a part time job. At six months after, we moved into the projects from the shelter and I started getting food stamps too. We continued to travel our route as often as we could and put it into our savings. It grew a few dollars at a time.
At 11 months after, I saw that my house was nearing completion. I almost had enough in my savings so appointments were made with bank, inspector, closing lawyer, etc. My loan was approved. I think the construction company told the bank about what I had done. Otherwise, I'm not sure I could have gotten approved for the loan. My salary was too low.
One year and 6 days after my first contact with the construction company we moved into our new home. Secretly I had gone to Sears and bought a canopy bed and dresser with all the princess stuff to go with it. Ruffle curtains, bedspread.... the whole bit. I had it all set up in her room before we started moving our things out of the project apartment. You should have seen the look on her face when she saw her room for the first time. Priceless!
I've never been anything but poor (low income). My whole life has been one of making do with what I have or can scrounge together. Hmm.... maybe that's why I love quilting and cardboard furniture so much. Odd bits and pieces to make something really nice. Growing up, I spent time with whatever relative or orphanage I was sent to live and learning with each new adventure. I'm in no way sad about my life at all. It's what makes me who I am. I'm an expert at making do and living with very little. A skill I can teach to those who are newly poor in today's economy. I think maybe my life of living poor was in God's plans all along. I mean really, someone had to be the one who lived and learned in order to teach others. Am I right??
I may get frustrated at times and moan or groan; but, there is always a way.... providing a person is willing to work hard and accept lower standards. Boulders in my path don't bother me for long. I can't miss what I've never had. After moving into this house we stopped traveling our route. I never saw the construction guys again but they knew if I stopped going that I had finally gotten our house. I think of them every now and then and say a prayer of thanks.
So you see my daughter does know what it is to set a goal and work toward it one small step at a time. Did I tell you how proud I am that she learned?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Twiddle my thumbs or clean something?

Almost everyone has plastic containers. Sometimes the containers are stored in a cabinet hap hazardly. The door is opened and things come tumbling out. Some plastics are stacked inside others requiring several steps to put it away after use. Take out the front stacks to put something in a stack at the back then replace the other stacks in front. Too much trouble to get it all back into the cabinet so things just kind of get tossed in and the door shut quickly.

This was the problem I had. My plastic wasn't stored in a wall cabinet though. It was stored inside a cabinet I use for an island in the kitchen. Well yesterday, I had a few minutes away from the machine as I watched food on the stove. Not wanting to just stand there twiddling my thumbs between stirrings, I cleaned out a drawer that held dog food and one that held dog treats. The food and treats were for my furkid that passed away last Christmas. It was high time I got rid of it. I bagged it up for the local dog shelter. A volunteer will pick it up today. The tiny furkid's food is so small it can fit into one small container.

After I washed out the drawers I decided to use them for my plastic containers. I tossed all the old butter tubs and the fast food glasses. What's left is a nice assortment that fit nicely....

into two drawers.

Nothing stacked inside another. Each size will be easy to get and easy to put back. I used a household bungee cord in each drawer to hold the lids. One small hole drilled on each side to hold the ends. The tops for one size containers wouldn't fit inside the bungee cord. Too tall.
If I ever win the lottery.... or get chosen for one of those home makeover shows... I'm going to be sure my kitchen has nothing but drawer cabinets! Hmm.... how does someone get chosen for those shows anyway? Is there a fairy out there somewhere that peeks inside homes? Do friends have to recommend someone?
This was only a small step toward getting my house re organized but it felt so good. As I said before, sometimes organizing is a result of simply cleaning. Cleaning out the old dog food resulted in organized plastic containers. Thirty minutes is all it took.
I'm still working on the large quilt with the pictures coming off. It has lots of stops and starts in the quilting which take time. I can't do anything to help save the pictures but it will still be a nice quilt when they do all come off.

I'm also still working to make room for my daughter to move home. I'm surprised that she's so anxious. I would have thought just the opposite. That she would be reluctant to give up her own place. Then again, she IS moving home to save money for a house of her own. The saved rent and utility money will add up quickly toward a down payment on a house.

So what do I do with all my stuff as I make room for her stuff? That's what I'm trying to figure out. I spend a little time each day to move things and sort things. Then I find a place to put it for a few months. What I worry about is..... out of sight, out of mind. Should I store the stuff or get rid of it? Will I want to go back to use any of it in a few months? For now, storing in odd places is the answer.... later will come soon enough.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

9 and 1/2 to go?

Awww.... gee whiz.... just when I thought I was going to make ends meet.... somebody done gone and moved the ends.

My washer and my dryer have died. The dryer a couple of weeks ago. The washer today. Hmm, I can honestly say I did get my money's worth out of them. I paid $50 each about 9 years ago. Bought them at a yard sale.

I was all set to wash a bunch of winter clothes and store them away. Then I was going to wash a bunch of neckties to be used in 3 memory quilts. My washer said... no way and proceeded to burn up it's motor. Luckily, it didn't catch on fire. It just filled the house up with a LOT of smoke. Now I have to figure out what to do about a washer. Right after I hand wring out all the water from the clothes that are still in there.

Well anyway, this quilt is finished. It's a small one.

I did a feather design on all the corners. I think this is going to be a cushion cover. I'm guessing because of the cut out corners.

I wanted to try some faux trapunto and this was a simple design.

This looks a little more complicated but wasn't difficult.

I did simple lines on the blue area. I started to do more feathers but the first ones (on the corners) didn't show up so I switched.

This quilt is back on the machine. I had stabilized it then took it off the machine so I could talk to the owner about it. I tried to convince the owner that she might want to fix the pictures before I finish quilting it. No, she wants it quilted like it is even if the photos don't stay on there. I'm not quilting the photos.... but they are peeling off already. It's a lot of money to put into a quilt that won't last long enough to get dirty. Ok, she's the owner and knows what she wants.... so that's what I'm gonna do. I think I'll do some pretty designs so that it will still look nice after the pictures peel off.

I spent most of today cleaning out my bedroom closet. Doing some spring cleaning I couldn't get done earlier this year as well as starting to ready stuff for winter. I figure if I start the fall stuff now, I might get it done just in time for winter.

Organize or simply clean?

Sometimes, when you think everything is completely out of control and you start repeating to yourself the mantra.... I've got to get organized, I've got to get organized.

Maybe what you really need is to simply clean? Organizing often means to get rid of as much stuff as you can then find containers for what's left. But what if you need everything that's there? What if you can't toss anything? Well, do some spring cleaning.... which in my case happens to be summer cleaning because I missed spring this year. I closed my eyes for a minute and spring sneaked right on past me.

My organizing will sometimes be a result of making sure everything is clean. That's what happened today. What started as me checking on winter items that might need to be washed, repaired, or replaced before winter resulted in an organized closet.

This is the left side of my double closet. See the quilts ready for Xmas charity? These had become lost in a plastic bin under other plastic bins and stuff. The space heaters have been checked, cleaned, and re boxed ready to use. I won't have to do that when the air gets chilly but it's too early to turn on the furnace.

My closet will be my new garage since my daughter and grand daughter will be moving back home this fall. Here is where I will keep things that should be in a garage.... which I don't have. The kerosene heater has been checked for good working order. The kerosene can had quite a bit of rust on the bottom so I tossed it out. A new one is on my list of things to buy. I keep the kerosene heater just in case we loose power in the winter.

These rolley carts used to hold fabrics for rugs and were in another room. As I made rugs and the drawers became empty, I simply haven't used them for anything else. Now they are being used for tools, painting stuff, hardware, and odds & ends. This is so much better! When I had plastic boxes in here.... the box I needed was almost always on the bottom. With the drawers this won't be a problem anymore.

Remember the small drawer units I used a few days ago to clean out my junk drawer? Well here they are again. A nice new home for them in the right side of my double closet. The drawer unit on the right is where the batteries and things are. The unit on the left is for medical supplies like cold meds, bandages, Tylenol, and stuff like that. All of it out of reach of a curious small child.

Well, for goodness sake.... would you look at that.... there's a wood floor in the bottom of my closet! I haven't seen the floor of my closet for several years. It had large plastic boxes full of stuff hiding it.

What is still not in the closet are my winter clothes. These are in a clothes basket ready to be washed and mended. These will be sealed in space bags and put into another drawer unit. I still plan to put more on the shelf above. I'm sure I will find items that need a home as I clean other rooms before winter. All I'm doing right now is what I should have done in the spring. I'm also getting things done that normally are done in the fall. I'm doing fall things early so I don't have to do it all at once.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Still here... still working

I've neglected my blog the last couple of days. It occurred to me that I should let everyone know I'm ok and working on another quilt. This is a small quilt so it shouldn't take long to finish.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This was sent to me by Ronda Beyer. It really sums up how I've been feeling lately.

A beautiful thing about growing old....

Shoot.... I forgot what it is.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why me?

I'm sick again. I was up and down all night. Sitting on the toilet with a bucket in front of me. I'm running a slight fever. I want a cup of coffee but I'm afraid to drink it. I don't think it would stay in my stomach for very long. The best I can do for myself right now is take a dose of pink stuff medicine and go back to bed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

10 more

I finished another quilt yesterday. It is a small one.

Two different flower designs on the blocks.

A flower and leaf design on the setting triangles to create a border.

A close up of the border.

I have the next quilt on the machine. Another small one. Hopefully, I can get it finished today.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Boulder avalanche

The new faucet is installed. It looks out of place in an old kitchen and it cost a fortune to have it put in. Why is it that designer faucets cost more to install? I haven't a clue but they do charge more. I looked and the hook up parts underneath are the same as the old faucet. Duh, the new faucet wouldn't have fit if the hookup wasn't the same. So why the added cost? Only because it's designer instead of regular. It took 30 minutes to put in and cost $180. So this plumber earns $360 an hour. Geeze, I went into the wrong business!

I had some help cleaning house over the weekend.

Also help sorting the threads. It's best to dump everything out then look thoroughly at each one when putting it back into the box.

A friend once told me that I let nothing get me down. My friend said that what she saw in me is; whenever I come across a boulder in my path, I step back, take a look, think for a bit, then start walking around the boulder to keep going along on my way.
She's right, I don't stay discouraged for more time than it takes to think things through. Type talking on my blog about my problems helps me think of new possibilities. I hope to give encouragement to others with my blog too. Maybe by reading about my trials and solutions they will see possibilities too.
Now that I'm retiring I can expect to see an avalanche of boulders about to happen in my path. It's inevitable. Less money means that things will happen to require money. Especially with an old house. (Murphy's Law) I will not let these things discourage me for long. Maybe for a day or two as I figure out a different way. I'm WILL enjoy my retirement no matter what boulders fall in my path!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Food slicer update

A few days ago I posted about the great bargain I found at the thrift store. It was a food slicer in it's original packaging. Never used. I finally had a chance to test it out. Oooo, I like it!!

The first thing I tested was cheese slices. This is a brick of cheese I get from the commodities program. It's similar to a brick of Velveeta only this is real cheese, not a substitute like Velveeta.

The slices turned out fine and they are now packaged for the freezer. I used pieces of parchment paper between the slices to keep them separated and not frozen to each other. I can take out only as much cheese as I need for any recipe.

Next I tested the slicer with a loaf of homemade bread. Oooo, I like it even more!! I was able to slice the bread into 1/4 inch slices. Just right for anyone who must limit the amount of bread in their diet. I did let the bread get completely cool before slicing it though.

Here is the bread all packaged for the freezer. Again, I used parchment paper to separate the slices. I broke up the heels into chunks to be toasted later for salad croutons. When I use slices for sandwiches I always cut off the crusts. Homemade bread has tough crusts. I don't cut the crusts off until I'm ready to eat the bread. The crusts are put into a blender to make bread crumbs for a coating mix. I also keep that in the freezer.

I'm really happy with my food slicer. It's actually quite safe to use. It's not nearly as speedy as one you might see in a deli. It also has a feature that it won't operate unless your hands are out of the way. It won't run unless your hand is on the buttons. Move your hand and it stops.
This little bargain is going to save me lots of money! I can put things in the freezer in smaller portions that I could using a knife. Smaller portions that are just right for a person cooking for one.

Furnace filter covers update

Recycling furnace filters update. Back in January 2009, I posted about using bridal veil to make a filter cover that could be removed and washed to use again. Hopefully, this would allow me to reuse the same filter for longer than one month.

So here it is July and this is how the filter cover has worked. This is what the cover looks like each time I take it off to wash it. I wash it once a month.

This is how the actual filter looks after 6 months of use. Just barely starting to build up dust. It actually looks denser in the photo than it does in person. I will change the filter at this stage and use the next one for 6 months with a cover.

For comparison; this is the other filter to my furnace after only one month. It did not have a cover for it.

So the cover is a good idea in my opinion. Now I need to make a cover for the second filter. I will save about 4 dollars a month by reusing the same filters. I looked at the price last week and this type filters were selling for 1.99 each. Changing only twice a year means I can keep about $40 a year for other things.

More about 2 sided quilts

I got a couple of questions in my email about doing 2 sided quilts. I thought I should add the answers to my blog for future visitors. The questions were about having two quilts the exact same size and how to attach them to the machine. With quilting machines (on track tables) the backing should be larger than the top in order for the clamps and leaders to hold the quilt sandwich.

Usually one of the quilts will be larger than the other so the largest becomes the backing. If both are the same size....

A false border can be basted to one of the quilts so you have extra room for your clamps and leaders. It's the same principle as you would do when a customer brings a backing that's exactly the same size as the top. Baste a false border on the backing before attaching to the machine and remove it when the quilting is finished.

This would be a pain if I tried to do it by hand. I baste the false border on with my domestic machine. I do a zig zag stitch set at widest and longest my machine will do. On my machine this happens to be a quarter inch wide and 4 stitches per inch. This is the seam allowance for attaching binding so it works out fine when the false border is removed. I keep several long strips of scrap muslin just for using as false borders. I cut these to fit a current quilt and sew them back together for longer quilts later.

I do stabilize the whole quilt sandwich (before stitching any of the design) being careful that the edge of the top quilt lines up along the basting of the false border. This way I know the false border is not going to be stitched by accident. The top quilt will over lap the false border by a quarter inch because of the zig zag seam. When the false border is removed (after the quilting is done) both the top and back should be even.

To stabilize the quilt sandwich; I do a stitch in the ditch around all the blocks (not the individual pieces) and the border. I make sure I don't go over any fabric warts when I SID. If a wart happens to fall in the SID line I skip over it. The warts are usually no larger than a quarter inch and rarely happens more than once or twice so it doesn't show much in the finished quilt.

If I do all the SID and everything lines up nicely along the edges; I know it's ok to go back and quilt all the designs. If for some reason things don't line up; a single line of stitching is much easier to remove than a whole design is.

If for some reason either of the tops is smaller than the other.... you (or the customer) must add a border to the smallest one or cut down the largest one. There is no other choice because the edges must meet to attach the binding.

Friday, July 17, 2009

11 more to go

The double sided quilt is finished.

There are some tucks in the back but they are not as noticeable as I thought. The busy print on the back makes them hard to see unless you are specifically looking for tucks. Only in a couple of places are the tucks really deep and therefore more noticeable.

This is the feather on the outside border and straight lines of the inside border.

Here is the feather on the setting triangles.

There were two place on the quilt that needed a touch of quilting that didn't fall in line with the rest of the quilting. I did simple ribbons.

Here is the line dancing done on the blocks.

Another block showing the line dancing. If you look closely, can see that the curves are kind of wavy? This is because of the seams in the pieced back.

The quilting machines are very touchy when it comes to objects in the path. A simple bump in the batting can cause the machine to travel away from the path you are going. Even a tiny batting lump will make a wave in your line. This might seem to be an obstacle to nice quilting but it's also why the plastic hand held templates work so well for quilting designs. Plastic quilting templates create an artificial bump in the quilting path. Or a deviation from the natural path the machine wants to go. A long plastic template means a long bump in the road. A short template, a short bump in the road. The lumps of the seams on the backing, although not a problem, do cause the hopping foot to move away from the path.
Have you ever tried to do a simple stitch in the ditch around applique but you couldn't quite stay in the ditch? Do you know why? Well, it's the seam line that's turned under when doing the applique. Unless the seam is very smooth underneath it will cause bumps in the hopping foot's path.
I have the next quilt attached to the machine. I'm hoping to get it stabilized today. Achieving a balance between finishing the quilts and moving things around in preparation for my daughter moving back home is difficult. I'm sure glad I have a few weeks before the big day. I have lots of things to find a new home in my house.
Going from three rooms of stuff to only one room of stuff means I have to be very creative with the organizing. You ever wonder why I call it STUFF? Because it's lots of big things that I have to STUFF (pack) into a small space. Stuff as in "pack it in there" instead of stuff as "objects".
Ok, I gotta get to work. First I'm going to have to figure out what's wrong with my computer today. It freezes up when I'm trying to work with email. I type up nice replies to the messages then try to send them on their way but the computer freezes. Can't get it to do anything. This is only happening in email. Strange..... very strange.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dejunk the junk drawer

I had a doctor appointment on Tuesday. It's usually an all day event. When I get home it's really too late in the day to start quilting.

Not wanting the rest of my day to be wasted, I decided to tackle my junk drawer. As you can see, I have little white drawer organizer boxes that can be mixed or matched into all kinds of ways. They did nothing to help keep this drawer organized. Why? Because it was just too easy to open the drawer and drop something in. There is too much "drop it in" room to the drawer.

I decided the drawer could be used for something else providing I cleaned it all out and put everything somewhere else. Here is my batteries and charger grouping.

Here are my cake decorating things.

Here are some of my power outage supplies. Tea lights for making coffee, extra wicks for the oil lamps, lighters to light them, and something to entertain if I'm not alone.

Where is the junk drawer stuff stored in now? Well still in drawers of course. Just smaller ones. I had these units just sitting in a closet not being used for anything.
At the moment these sit on top of my freezer. These will get moved to another place when I get around to organizing that area. What I like most about these new drawers is that there is "no drop it in" room. It either fits into a separator box inside the drawer or it doesn't get put there.

I only used a few of the white drawer organizer boxes because I wanted to save some for another organizing project. I wasn't happy with the emergency items drawer (above) so I searched my cardboard collection and found some cheese boxes. They fit perfectly in the drawer and separate things nicely.

While cleaning out the junk drawer, it occurred to me that none of these things must be stored in the kitchen. These items are seldom used. I can find another place to store them while still keeping them accessible when the need arises.
Keep only what is "used" in the kitchen.... stored in the kitchen.

Now I have a completely empty drawer to be used for something else. Hmm...... I wonder.....
Ok, I'll let you know what I decided when I put something in the empty drawer.