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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.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Decluttering the bedroom

It feels like a bedroom again!  I've been busy clearing out the stuff that had been stored in my bedroom while my daughter and grand-daughter were here.

There's still some work that must be done in here, like putting the closet doors back up and taking out the bookshelves, but it feels so much more comfortable. 

My daughter bought me a new mattress set.  I need a step stool in order to get into the bed now.  What was she thinking?  My bed was already high with a regular mattress set.  It's an antique.  They were made higher back then.  Now the bed has what is called a pillow top set.  Both the mattress and box springs are double the height of the old set.  Actually, a 3 step stool would be better so I'll have to buy one.

My bedroom may be cleaner.... the formerly empty room isn't empty anymore.  Only for a short time though.  There is still some things of my daughter's in the other room.  When she gets that out then I can put my quilting stuff back into that closet like it was before they moved in. 

Before I go putting furniture in these two rooms I'm going to finish the painting that didn't get finished last year.  I didn't finish the trim around the windows and the doors.  After that I'm going to get the window quilts made and hung.  See.... I'm not quilting.  I'm taking ME time.  Maybe I'll spend a little time blog visiting now.  I haven't done that in awhile.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Holiday weekend

I took my door quilt off the machine and put a customer quilt on.  I have it stabilized but don't plan on working on it over the weekend.  I'll work on it today but that's it until Tuesday.  This is a holiday weekend and I'm not supposed to work 

In the past, when I was quilting for a living, holidays were used as extra quilting time to get more work
finished.  That led to me not spending time with family when most people were enjoying themselves.  Not anymore!  I will now use holidays as what they are intended to be.... times for rest and enjoyment and with family. 

You may wonder why I'm type-talking about my holiday plans?  Mostly to record it for my kids and grands to read someday in this journal.  Also to tell myself.... it's ok to take time off from customer work without guilt.  I'm a workaholic so sometimes I have to convince myself to slow down and enjoy life.  This weekend I will spend time with my kids for the holiday.  I haven't done that in many years.  It may be only a phone call but that's ok too.  If they didn't live so far away I might go spend a couple of days with them. 

Holidays are also reminders that some of my kids have passed on and there's no chance to hug them or find out what they are up to.  This is the most difficult part of holidays and probably one reason I so easily worked during holidays in the past.  If I was busy working I wouldn't be thinking about what had been lost.  This was unfair to the other kids.  Just because I had lost some didn't mean I should avoid the others.  I'm hoping to make it up to them by changing my old habits and creating new ones.

If I don't post again before Tuesday..... you'll know what I'm doing. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another quilt finished

I finished this quilt.  It's very long.  It hangs off the other end of my intake table.

I did weaving feathers on the outside border and curls on the inside border.

I did line dancing on the pieced area.

When I finished that quilt, I decided to put my door quilt back on the machine for a little while.  I'll work on it just a bit today and then get another customer quilt onto the machine. 

I also took some time from my day to put the plants into my little garden.  I still want to put a flower or two there too.  There's one more box that needs dirt before I plant anything in it.

The nice thing about being semi-retired is that I have time for me projects again.  It feels really good.  I'm slowly getting my rhythm back after my daughter's move.  I work on customer quilts in the morning and work on me projects in the afternoon.  I started pulling boxes out of a closet late yesterday.  Its nice to spread out and get reacquainted with all the fabrics and supplies I have boxed away.  The nicest thing is that I don't have to be in a hurry to pull stuff out.  I can do this at my own pace.   

The garden

I got my plants into the square foot garden yesterday.  It's not a lot but they make me very happy.  If I could, I would plant much more ,in even more square foot spaces.  I'll be glad to get a few tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers.  That little bit will save me money.  I did plant a squash, broccoli, and eggplant.  I've never tried to grow those before.  I plan to get a couple of flowers when I go shopping again. 

You want to see why this is the only place where I could plant a small garden?

Here's the entrance to my backyard.  See the beginnings of the jungle?

This is just inside the gate.  This stuff is growing through the fence.  With the neighbor's fence there, I can't get to it to cut it.

This is farther along the fence.  More stuff growing through the fence.  The best I'll be able to do is cut what's on my side of my fence and what I can reach through it.

This is farther along the fence.  That's actually a tree branch that's grown so long it hangs near the ground.

This is at the end of that side of the yard.  See that tree?  It's probably a hundred feet high or more.  It's on their side of my fence but they built their fence on the other side of the tree.  So all the trees are in between both fences.

This is a view standing near my house and looking toward the back fence.  It's a view of the branches hanging near the ground. 

Here, I'm standing on the back side of the clothes line post.  See the tree branch?  It's grown so much it touches the ground.  It's not the same branch as the other picture.  This is a different one.

This is my cherry tree.  It's fighting with the other trees and bushes for a small bit of sunshine. 

This is looking up when I'm standing near the clothes line post.  Not much sun gets through all those branches. 

All these pictures were taken with the flash on.  Without the flash I couldn't get a good picture.  It's too shady.  Well, this area would be a nice place to go on very hot days.  It's very cool back there.  But..... dang gone it..... I would love to have a garden!   The jungle is too overwhelming for me.  There's no charity group anywhere that helps with overgrown yards.  No government group either.  All I can do is stand by helplessly and watch it grow worse every year.  Hmm... I wonder.... if a tree falls on my house during a storm.... whose responsibility is it?  The neighbors or mine?  Since the trees are in between the fences.... who owns them? 

Oh heck, I best get myself busy before I ponder too much.  It's stressful.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Piler or filer

When someone says you should get organized.... what mental picture do you see?  Spare?  Minimal?  Picture perfect? Empty? Sterile?  Personally, I believe that being well organized means simply having a place for everything and everything in it's place. 

When it comes to organizing, my daughter is a piler and I'm a filer.  Even as a child my daughter would create piles of stuff in her room.  She knew exactly what was in each pile and could find whenever she wanted.  The piles would drive me crazy sometimes but I allowed her to find her own style and use it.  As long as her piles didn't become breading grounds for icky critters the piles were ok.  She never had food items or junk in her room.  Just piles of books, piles of clothes, piles of shoes, and so forth.

I, on the other hand, prefer filing my things.  By filing I mean neat little drawers and containers to fit exactly what I'm organizing.  Ideally I would love to have a house full of drawers or cabinets with areas that exactly fit everything I own and want to keep organized.  Ha! Like that would ever happen. 

Regardless of your organizing style it's important to know where everything is. Organizing is simply another word for knowing what you have, how many, and where it's stored.  This is the cheapest way to start saving money.  It keeps you from buying duplicates because you can't find the one you already own. 

Ever since the end of WW11 we've been taught to be good little consumers and buy, buy, buy.  We've been taught that our self worth is directly connected to the amount of stuff we own.  A person who gets a raise is more likely to go out and buy more stuff than they are to seek out investing options.  A person that wants to show their grandchildren how much they are loved buys them lots of toys instead of spending time at the museum.  Holidays are no longer simply to celebrate the reason.  Holidays have become excuses to buy more stuff.  Not only are we buying ourselves more stuff but we use holidays to give other people more stuff too.

The more stuff we own, the more space we need to keep it.  Everything we own requires something from us.  We must feed it, oil it, clean it, store it, and so forth.  Before long, our stuff starts to own us instead of us owning it.  We become overwhelmed and over stimulated to the point we feel we must organize.

So along comes the organizer companies.  It's a whole industry devoted to helping people own and store more stuff.  If we run out of room in our homes we can rent space in a storage facility.  I sometimes hear about people buying another house just for keeping more stuff.  To me, that's very sad.  Their stuff truly does own them.  The stuff is so important that they pay a mortgage payment to own it. 

Back when I decided to semi-retire it was with the intention of giving myself a simpler life.  A life of meaningful things instead of cold, unfeeling STUFF.  Giving up most of my income meant returning to the money saving things I did in my younger days.  Organizing is the first step for me to have my simple life.  Less income helps me avoid the temptations to buy, buy, buy.  I hope you keep me company and read my blog as I travel this journey to a simpler, happier life. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Empty space, yippie!

Ok, I finally have my space back to myself.  I have an empty room.  In a few days I'll have another room too.  Now it's time to get my own routine back.... for now. 

I need to turn things like this....

and this.....

and this.....

back into a somewhat organized set of quilting and art storage that's not overwhelming me or my home.  At the same time I need to stay on schedule with the customer quilts.  True, I have only 4 customers right now.  Those customers are very important to me.  They are also my friends.  My quilting schedule is top priority.  The organizing is second.

Before I can organize anything, I'll need to know what it is I have, and the amount of space required for the storage.  I'm taking an idea from the show "clean sweep" and adapting it to my own organizing.  If you haven't seen that show, it's where an organizing group goes into the home of someone, who's overwhelmed with lots of stuff, and help them reclaim the space for living.  The first thing that's done on every episode is that all the stuff is carried outside and sorted into piles of like stuff.  Books in a pile, crafts in a pile, toys in a pile, and so forth.  Then everything is counted, measured, picked through for duplicates, some is discarded, some is sold in a yard sale, and so forth.  What's left over after all the sorting and discarding is then put back into a well organized space.

Realistically, I can't carry all my stuff outside like they do on the show.  If I did that, my stuff would be gone in a matter of minutes.  My neighbors would think I was being evicted.  The one empty room I have is going to act as my sorting area for now.  A little at a time, I plan to move everything into that area and go through it all.  When it's all sorted and measured I can start getting together the organizing containers and finding the space to store it.  Eventually this one room will become a living room so the stuff can't stay there forever.  Hmm.... that's the goal anyway. 

Moving day!

They got here mid-morning.  You can't see it but the truck was already half full with stuff from the storage place.  Living room stuff, another bedroom set, washer and dryer, dishes, pictures, and lots of nick nacks.  She didn't have to hire a moving company after all.  Her cousin helped her.  He used to work for a furniture store as their delivery person.

Whew!  Moving is exhausting.  Running around telling everyone that stuff is going to "my new house" is a lot of work. Good thing NaNa's intake table still is a good place for naps.  Her bed was already loaded on the truck.  A minky blanket given to NaNa (from a customer) is her favorite. 

I have an empty room!  There's still stuff in the other bedroom but it will be gone in a few days.  The only thing left in this room is what's in my office.  Can you see that?  I can get to the computer without tripping over anything.

I'm not going to go to their new house for a few days.  I could go if I wanted but I promised I would wait until she has all her stuff put away.  She wants me to see it all finished when I go the first time.

This house seems so empty.  At the same time it feels more relaxed.  Hmm..... what do I want to do first? 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My garden

My little side-yard garden is taking shape a bit at a time.  I got the pieces made that will hold the string supports.  The pvc pipe is quite flimsy so I may change these before my plants get big enough to climb.  That's why there aren't any strings yet and why I have it attached to the side of the house.  I'm thinking about it for a few days before doing more to it.  I'm thinking I should get some fence posts which will be sturdy.  My plants will get put into the ground this weekend or on Monday, depending on the time I have for working outside.

One more day and I can start getting my own routines back.....maybe.  I will be with an empty nest once again.  This time won't be nearly as hard to handle as the first time.  This time I'm proud that my daughter has her own house.  She's put down her roots and started making her own nest. 

My mother has decided to go on a hunger strike at the hospital.  She's also refused to take her medications.  That's not good for an insulin dependant diabetic.  I just don't know what to do about her anymore.  She's becoming increasingly angry and abusive to other patients at the nursing home.  She hurts people.  She runs over their feet with her wheelchair on purpose.  She sneaks up on people and hits them or throws things.  She sneaks into patient rooms and tries to hurt the bedridden patients.  She's started hitting or biting the staff. She is then sent to the hospital where she can only stay 14 days and then she's sent to another hospital where she stays 14 days to be sent back to the nursing home.  The cycle is then started over.

Each time she is transferred to another place they change her medications....again.  On average the medications are changed every 14 days.  After about 60 years of taking different medications, the meds have lost their ability to control her anger and psychotic episodes.  The dilusions are getting much worse.  The times between are much shorter.  At most she is her normal self for only a day or a few hours.

Her anger is quite often taken out on me over the phone.  I'm much too old to let someone abuse me even over the phone.  I take up for myself and then feel guilty about it because I know she can't help herself.  This makes the rest of my day very unpleasant.  I feel very sorry for the nursing home staff that must deal with her hour after hour and day after day.  I can barely handle a few minutes on the phone dealing with the anger.

It's becoming more and more likely she may need to be sent out of state to another facility that's better equipped to handle her.  She will need much more supervision than the current nursing home can provide.  I think it's time for my brother and I to get educated (on the only available nursing facilities) so we will be prepared to make that decision. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Another quilt started

I have the next quilt on the machine and it's stabilized.  I have my wax paper and markers ready to test some designs before I start quilting it.

This young lady is learning to make paperclip rugs.  She's very interested in doing crafts.  She comes over after school to wait for her father to pick her up after work.  I've been teaching her a few crafty things that can be done without money.  Paperclip rugs made from grocery bags cost nothing.  Today I'm going to cut her some t-shirt fabric strips to make a rug or two over the summer.  She's also making plans to visit a couple of times a month this summer so I can teach her to piece quilts.  Her parents are ok with this as long as she keeps up her music practice.  She plays.... I think.... three instruments.

Just a few more days and my schedule will change again.  I'll be able to work without disturbing anyone.  I only have 4 customers now.  You'd think my schedule would be very light.  Guess what?  They all decided to bring multiple quilts at the same time and asking that they be done by nearly the same date.  Giggle.  And I thought I had been so clever.  No, I'm not complaining, just fascinated and amused that no matter how careful I am, I still get a very full schedule.  The customers are all very kind and tell me to just do them when I can..... but please try to have them done by such and such date.  If I can't, it's ok too.  There seems to be a lot of weddings coming up in June.  Duh, June is a big wedding month. 

My mother is back in the hospital.  Her boyfriend passed away and she started acting up.  She's like a child throwing a tantrum and anyone in her way gets the anger.  For the protection of the other patients she must go to the hospital to get her meds worked out and the anger under control.

It's time for me to start my day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I have dirt

Yup, I finally got the compost and peatmoss for the square foot garden.  My brother took me.

Today is supposed to be a nice day so I'll try to get these plants in the ground.

Geeze, I didn't know plants were that expensive!  I guess it's like everything else.... the prices are skyrocketing.  Next year I'll start the plants from seed in my house.  I'm just doing what I can for this year.  If I only plant a few things it will help.  Next year I can do more.

Yesterday I started thinking about a fair entry.  I like to enter in the fine arts textile division as well as the quilting division.  I read the description for the textile art several times and I still can't understand it.  It's been rewritten and seems very confusing to me.  I'll have to call the fair board for an explanation before I know which department I can enter. 

Only a couple more weeks until I have my house to myself again.  My schedule can go back to the way it was 6 months ago.  Yippie!  I can work early or late without disturbing anyone's sleep.  Hmm.... I should be able to get a lot of creative work done just like before.  I can even catch up on reading the blogs of my friends and leisurely read emails once more.  I'll be able to post more often on both my blogs. 

Ok, those plants are not going to get themselves planted.  I best get started on it.  I need to finish the planting  and start on a customer quilt.  I'll have to take my door quilt off the machine and set it aside for awhile.  I have until winter to finish it so there's no hurry. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The studio is clear

Well, I finally got something productive done.  My daughter moved what she could with her van.  Most of the boxes are at her house now.... but the beds and dressers are still here.  She'll go to her house after work and come here for bedtime.

I worked on a paperclip rug.  I stopped when I ran out of strips.  I'll have to find the fabric before I can cut more.

I managed to work on the door quilt for awhile.   At first I tried to be very careful with the quilting.  Then I decided...."done is better than good" so I just started getting it quilted without care if it's good or not.  It's only for me so it doesn't have to be perfect. 

Ladybug gave me a manicure while we waited for mommie to take boxes to the new house.

Then she gave herself a manicure.

We had asked lots of different men to help move her.  She offered to pay them.  There are "very lazy" men around here.  They do nothing but sit around and drink most of the time.  None have jobs.  They depend on their women to support them.  That's the getto life.  We don't know any teenagers who could help.

My daughter is going to use "Two guys and a Truck" moving service to get the rest of her things two weeks from now.  With some of her small stuff.... like clothes and dishes and computer..... moved to her house she can at least feel like she's living there.  She'll take more of the smaller things each day until she get's it all there. 

I can't spread out my things yet.  I have to wait until the bedroom furniture has been moved.  I'm glad that I can at least get into my studio and be a little creative.  The thought of two weeks without working in the studio was simply depressing.  Hmm.... I best get in there and do something before there's another problem of some kind.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ok, lil' sis

(Thanks Kathi for the email.) 

I'm fine, just a little bummed out.  I'm soooo ready to have my house back!  I'm so ready to have the space to be creative again.  I want my life to stop being on hold while it waits on someone else's life to move on.  I'm ready to get my creative life moving forward again.  I love my daughter and grand-daughter but it's time that my life was a little less dependant on their needs.  Know what I mean? 

My daughter was all set to move into her new home this past weekend.  We got stuff packed and moved around so it would be easier to load onto a truck.  Some stuff sitting in my studio.  Some stuff sitting in the kitchen.  So what happened?  Absolutely no one willing to help her move.  Everyone kept telling her to call back later.  By Saturday evening her things were still sitting where they were.  Sunday.... same excuses.   Right now it appears she may not get another chance to move for another two weeks..... providing she finds someone willing to help that weekend.  She has to work next weekend.

Right now everything is still sitting where it was.  I can either move it back to their rooms, out of my way, or leave it like it is and do nothing.  I'm doing nothing because I don't want to have to move it twice.  I can't even locate the camera right now.  It's probably hidden by a box or a bag or something.

I've got a quilt on the machine.... which is one of my own.  It's not fancy.  It's a printed whole cloth that was given to me several years ago.  I believe it was originally supposed to be the backing for a quilt and the owner changed their mind.  I plan to use it for a window quilt,but not on a window.  It's going to go in the opening between my studio and the kitchen area.  I can close it to keep everyone who comes into the studio from seeing the dirty dishes in the kitchen.  Oh yeah, it will help with the utility bills too.  I can turn the heat down in the house and use a small ceramic heater to heat the studio.  I can't work on it because there are boxes sitting around the machine. 

I haven't had a chance to plant my square foot garden.  My brother is still waiting for his son to let him use the truck.  We have a lot of compost to buy which would be too heavy for his car.  I can't buy plants either.  I need the compost before the plants can go in the ground. 

I did order the supplies for my drawing class.  I'm waiting for those to arrive.  In the meantime I practiced drawing straight sketch lines on printer paper.  I'm bored with just doing straight lines and want to move onto the next step.  I sure wish those supplies would get here already!

I couldn't get to the computer the last couple of days because I had Ladybug with me the whole weekend. 
The mommie spent time on the phone trying to persuade someone to help her move and some time finishing up the painting..... which I haven't had a chance to go see yet.  I'll take pictures of everything when I visit the first time. 

Ok, I'll post again tomorrow providing I can get to the computer.  I never know from day to day if I can get to it or not.  Right now I've got to find something to be creative with.  Maybe I'll work on a rug or something.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Here I am

A lot has happened the last few days.  I finished this quilt. 

I did stitch in the ditch around all the pieces of the pieced blocks.

Outlined the characters in the whole blocks.

Then I finished this one. 

I did a clam shell design in the center area.

I did a pretty feather design on the outside border.

Of course I had to do a little experimenting and guess who wanted to experiment too.  We were playing around with her crayons to draw on fabric.  No worry..... a swipe with an iron and it all disappeared.   I had hoped it would be permenant.  Duh!  Wax melts.  Oh well.  The fabric is still usable and we had fun experimenting.

My daughter is now in debt for the next 30 years.  She signed the papers on her house yesterday.  First thing she did was get me to go with her to pick out paint for the walls.  Why would she want to paint when all the paint is new?  As she puts it.... "I've lived with cream colored walls since I move out on my own 12 years ago.  I don't want to move into my own house and have cream color walls."    Today she's busy painting so it will be dry when she moves in this weekend.  The utilities have been turned on.  The phone and internet are to be connected tomorrow.  She found a garbage collection company.  Paid her neighborhood association dues.  She's lined up some guys to help with the moving and scheduled a rental truck.  Hmm.... I think she's ready to move this weekend.

You know what that means?  Yippie!  Next week I can spread out my own stuff.  I'll be able to find my creative stuff again.  Oh yes, speaking of being creative, I have great news.  I'm signed up for a drawing class.  Thank you to those who encouraged me not to give up!  You were right.  I just had to find the right teacher because I want to do more than print out a pattern from a computer.  What I'm hoping is that I can eventually combine my love of quilting and my love of drawing into some really great quilts.   

I need to figure out a "creative" schedule.  I plan to work on several different types of creative things.  Cardboard furniture, rug making, backward pieced quilts, machine quilting for customers, piecing memory quilts, and now the drawing class.   I'll have to find a balance in my time.  I have to go now.  I'm packing some of my daughter's stuff for her today. 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Is God telling me something?

I've got the next quilt done.  It was picked up a little while ago and they loved it.  It's the memory quilt I had on my design wall for a long time.  It was due to be given on Mother's Day so I worked overtime to finish.  It's made from the clothing of a young man killed by a drunk driver.  This is what happened.  He was on his way to work, sitting at a red light.  A drunk driver plowed into him.  He was taken to the hospital where his mother is a nurse.  She got to hold him and say goodbye. 

The center panel is the shirt his mother was wearing the day he died.   The cream heart is a piece of his baby blanket from when he was born.

He worked at Kroger and this was his favorite hat.  He loved his job.  The two burgundy hearts are from the clothing he was wearing that day. 

This is one of his work shirts.  The heart if from the clothing he was wearing.

To make it all coordinate together I used a blue thread which matched the backing.  I dressed it up a little for the mother by using feathers and leaves designs and meandering on the shirts.

The shirt collars were left in tact for 3 of the blocks.  I'm proud to have been able to create a memory for his mother. 

Now for the other part of this blog post......  Is God trying to tell me something?

Those of you that have known me for a long time may remember just how very much I want to be able to create portrait quilts.  Not just of people but of animals too.  I've bought books....

and more books.....  as well as DVDs.....

and more DVDs.....

I've taken classes.....  and paid for patterns.....

I've bought photoshop elements hoping to use it for portraits and for organizing photos to be included in my cardboard furniture instruction book. 

Then I bought the book to go with the software.  It only made me more confused.

It's been one set back after another for probably the last 3 years.  It could be even longer than that.  I can't remember exactly.  Actually, I've wanted to draw portraits my whole life.... I just never got the instructions to help me do them.  Here's a picture I did in 1977.... the last time I picked up a pencil and sketch pad specifically to draw a person. 

Here's another one I did that same month.  I had the idea but not any training.

I tried drawing other things too.  These were my husband's work boots and socks.

Here's an attempt to do dog portraits in fabric from years ago.  I got the pattern from a book at the library.  Kind of odd but cute too.

This week I've been literally "just a few minutes too late" to get into both a class in Kentucky AND an online class.  The first one was a class in Lexington.  I called to ask about taking a class on the very day it was held.  Not enough time for me to rent a car and get there.  No more are scheduled until "maybe" fall.  The online class?  While I was down loading a new version of Flash player, the class filled up.  Yup, it filled up that fast.  The people from an in person class wanted more instructions so they all signed up at once.  No more are scheduled until September. 

I've watched my DVDs and read my books again and again.  I still can't create a portrait quilt on my own.   After crying in frustration for awhile this afternoon, I decided that maybe it's not meant to be.  Maybe God is telling me to take another path.    Why?  Because for each step I take forward to creating portraits I wind up falling two steps backward.  It's time to stop putting hopes, dreams, and lots of money into what will never happen.  After a lifetime of hoping and dreaming, it's time to let it go. 

Whatever path God wants me to take.... it will become apparent because it will be the easiest to accomplish.  For now it looks like writing a blog and instruction book about cardboard furniture is going to be first.  The easiest and least expensive.  In the meantime, I still have 2 more tops to get quilted by Tuesday.  This post is already too long.