Monday, December 31, 2007

Year End Reckoning

I made it through the year keeping track of my projects, the time I spent quilting and the money I spent on quilting. Here’s my 2007 results:

I started 2007 with 17 quilting projects, I added 36 projects and completed 23 projects for a net list of 30 WIPs for the coming year. I started stitchery this year and currently have 6 WIPs. I also have 5 projects I have the patterns and fabric for, but haven’t started and I just got my Butterfly Garden patterns today so tomorrow I’m going to pull fabrics and floss for it.

Over the course of the year I spent 411.25 hours quilting or stitching, that’s an average of 34.27 hours a month, or 1.13 hours per day.

OK, so I’m a bit of a numbers geek, but hold on there’s more.

I spent $2,318.15 on fabric, supplies and having 3 quilts quilted. That’s an average of $193.18 per month, or $5.64 for every hour I quilted. Not a bad investment in my book.

On to 2008. My goals this year include:
  • Spend less money. That shouldn’t be too hard since buying a house will put a dent in my disposable income.
  • Improve my appliqué skills. Making Butterfly Garden will help with that.
  • Learn how to machine quilt. If I’m ever going to decrease my UFO count I need to learn machine quilting.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Is It Valentine's Day Yet?

I'm only asking if it's Valentine's Day because I made this table runner top today. The pattern is from Happy Zombie. She used it as Christmas pattern. I had two charm packs of Valentine fabric so thought I'd be ahead of the holiday schedule. While I was digging through my stash that isn't packed away I found the black heart fabric and realized how perfect it would be for the stars. I have enough black fabric left for the binding and maybe the backing too.

I wish I would have spent a little more time placing the large squares. I'm not entirely thrilled with the two bold charms next to each other in the third vertical column, but it will stay the way it is. I'm thinking I may stitch a redwork heart or two on the charms for an additional design element.

Oh yeah, the Patriots won their game last night. They are first NFL team to finish the season 16 - 0. They broke quite a few other records during the game last night. In honor of their win I went to E-Quilter and ordered three yards of Patriots cotton fabric. It's the same fabric I used in the first quilt I made for DH. Not sure what I'll make with it this time, although one possibility is a back cushion for my Red Sox rocking chair.

I'm watching football alone today. DS and DIL have a birthday party to attend and DH decided to go and play poker. I'd love to go back in the sewing room, but my arms are telling me to take it easy. It's the first time in weeks I've been in pain. I think it's because I carried heavy grocery bags yesterday. I have several cloth grocery bags and the cashiers tend to overload them. I must remember to tell them not to over fill them. So, I'm off to take a nap and see how I feel later.

With tomorrow being the end of the year I need to review my WIPs and UFOs and finish up my Quilting Projects, Time and Financial workbook. Stay tuned for my first yearly report.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Big Game Today

Tonight is the BIG game. Will the New England Patriots beat the NY Giants to be the first 16-0 team in NFL history? I think so. This morning the NFL Network is replaying four of the Patriots games this morning. DH and I are watching them, of course. This afternoon I need to do some shopping and then tonight DS, DIL, DH and I will be glued to our TV watching the game.

The mailman brought me one more package of goodies from Australia on Thursday. The package was from Carey at Blueberry Lane Designs. What a wonderful selection of goodies from her shop. She included 16 scrap pieces of yummy fabric, a package of heart buttons, a teddy bear magnet, Fresh Flowers Tote Bag pattern, a Huggettes pattern featuring sisters, another stitchery pattern and a panel of Red Hat ladies from Moda fabrics. Thanks for such a wonderful collection of goodies.

I'm expecting two more goodie packages this week and then I think the flow of Christmas presents will stop. I used some Christmas money to order Leanne Beasley's Butterfly Garden pattern. I only purchased the pattern because I want to choose my own fabrics for the quilt. DH has said he will pay for any fabric and floss I need to make the quilt as the rest of my Christmas present.

The other package will be my order from Barnes & Noble. DH gave me gift card for BN. I went on-line the other night and browsed through their clearance section. I ordered four quilt books, one book on textile history and three home decorating books. Just what I need more books to pack in two months when we move.

Have a great weekend! Hopefully we'll be celebrating later tonight and tomorrow I hope to spend some time sewing.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

One Secret Revealed and One Still a Secret

First, where will I find the Red Sox logo in my previous post? You will find it on this Red Sox rocking chair that is currently occupying a proud space in our living room. In our new condo the chair will go in my quilt studio so I have a place to relax when I am working in there. Jackie and Dot were the closest guesses with a stadium seat so each of them will win a prize. Jackie send me your snail mail address. Dot, I have your address. Prizes will go out soon.

I opened my Secret Santa package this morning. Inside was this cute bag made with sewing fabric, perfect for carrying a project around. Inside the bag was a small garland of three hears, two quilt labels and a Mother's Quilt Card stitchery designed by Janet at Wildcraft Farm. Now what's so cool about Janet is she was my Secret Santa partner and I got one of her Quilt Cards as a gift.

I'd like to thank my swap partner, but I don't know who she is. There wasn't anything in the package to identify her. All I know is the return address is Paradise Point, Australia. So, whoever you are, thank you, thank you.

The last photo shows the goodies that Janet put in her Christmas Surprise packages she sold on her site. I ordered one for me and one for my DIL. It was a wonderful collection of goodies. Here's what I found upon opening the package.

I must say Janet likes to wrap presents. Wrapping paper, cardboard, and two wraps of tissue. Wow! Now let’s what is inside?
  • First up a mini Christmas Pudding. Looks yummy and it was.
  • Then a wonderful aroma coming from the package. What could it be? Oooh, Chestnuts and Brown Sugar soap. I’ll have to try that later as well.
  • But that isn’t quite what I smell. Ah yes, it’s the Cinnabun Tart candles.
  • What’s in this shiny tin on a key chain? It’s an emergency stitchery angel. How did she know that I would be frustrated because all of my stitcheries are packed away waiting for our move? This is the angel I stitched this past Sunday.
  • And a key ring kit to stitch my own designer key ring. I guess I’ll be switching out my sports related key ring for this one when I get it done.
  • Now what’s wrapped up in the piece of muslin? Ooooh, buttons, buttons, a wonderful collection of buttons. Recently I’ve started collecting whimsical buttons to use on my stitcheries. These will come in very handy.
  • But there’s still more . . . Some lovely lace and . . .
  • Last, but not least, some yummy fabrics. I’m going to save these for some special project. I have an idea, but I’m not going to share it right now.

Monday, December 24, 2007

My Newest Ornament

This is my newest ornament. I found her today while shopping at Hallmark. Isn't she adorable? My own Quilting S'More.

We will attending service later tonight and tomorrow will be spent with about 50 of DH's family at his parent's home.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with family and friends.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lookie, Lookie, I Can Sew

Last weekend and mid-week we got plenty of snow. The end of the week the temps rose and the snow on the roof of our building started to melt. Proof of that melting can be seen outside my studio window. See the size of those icicles? They are huge!

One of the on-line groups I belong to does a Winter Solstice Swap. Each year we are given a list of eight types of items to give to our swap partner. Here is what I got in my swap package yesterday.

  • Something to Give Away to a Friend – Ghirardelli Chocolates, how cruel to have to give them away. But, I gave them to my DIL last night and we shared them for dessert after our Christmas dinner
  • Something Only For Me – a “Sweet Pea” bowl. How absolutely adorable. It will find a special place in my sewing room.
  • Something to Help Me Enjoy My Winter Celebration – Christmas Placemats and Napkins. I don’t have any Christmas decorations for the table so these are perfect.
  • Something that is recycled, recyclable and reusable – a bag from Brevard County, FL. It says on it “I’m Reducing my Waste Line”. How cool. It will go with my growing stash of recyclable bags. Speaking of bags, I brought them in with me when we went Christmas shopping at Target the other day. The look on the cashier’s face was priceless. She didn’t know how to respond.
But I digress . . .
  • Something that represents your own special Winter Celebration (sleeping the night before Christmas . . . Or not sleeping) - Christmas pillowcases. I’ll have to see if I can get DH to give up his Patriots pillowcase for one night.
  • Something the represents the promise of a New Year – Tropical two year calendar. Just the right size for my pocketbook.
  • Something to help with shopping for the celebratory feast – magnetic Christmas note pad for writing lists. Since I don't have to cook a big meal I will use for our next grocery list.
  • Something quilty (also a Black Friday bargain) - The Quilter’s Palette, a tonal collection of 20 FQs from Joanne’s. This came in very handy yesterday. Just read what happened between DH and I the other night: Friday night I started my usual weekend thought process: “What am I going to work on this weekend? I can work on . . . Nope, it’s packed . . . How about this . . . Nope, packed already. . . That? Nope, packed up too.” I guess I shouldn’t have started packing so quickly last weekend. So yesterday afternoon I started working on a somewhat mystery quilt on one of my other on-line groups.
That's what leads me to say, "Lookie, lookie, I can sew!" I cut apart each of those 20 FQs and this morning started sewing blocks together. It was so much fun to sit at my machine and hear the whir of the needle and thread joining the fabric together.
This afternoon I started stitching a redwork angel that came in another Christmas gift I got (I'll talk about that one later). I also have all my stitchery projects packed away and was so glad when I got this angel. I spent about four hours stitching her and here she is fresh the embroidery hoop. I feel so much better now.

Just in case you're wondering, we are waiting on getting a signed P&S agreement on yet another condo. We have verbal agreement from the seller and we are waiting for their signature on the documents. The closing won't be until the end of February so I may end up having to unpack a box or two so I have projects to keep me busy. More details to come after we have everything in place.

Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Chistmas Present for Me

I went shopping for my family tonight and when I was standing in line waiting to pay for the great gifts I had found I saw this item by the store's window. I wanted it. I need it. I had to have it.

I drove home from the store and kept thinking about it. I walked into the house and pronounced to DH, "Honey, I have Christmas bonus money and I saw this at the store and I'm going back to get it. Oh yeah, will you come with me because I need help carrying it." DH happily obliged and I'm now the super duper happy owner of one of these items.

What is it, you ask. Well I would show you, but the photos at night don't do it justice so you will have to wait until Christmas morning because, like any other Christmas present, you have to wait for Christmas to open it up. Better yet, I'll have a little holiday contest. If you can guess what the item is by Christmas Day, I'll send you a prize. Go ahead and guess! I dare you!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Do You Have A Signature Fabric?

Tuesday night the city decided to remove all the snow drifts from the city streets. Those wonderful snow piles were taken away. Notice I said were gone. That's because we are getting another 8 - 10 inches snow today! We've had more snow this month than we did all of last winter. I'm one happy girl.

I'm tired of talking about condo hunting so until we have a signed deal and have made it through the appraisal and home inspection, I'm not talking about condo hunting. I need a break from that corner of my life.

Anyway, I'm wondering how many of you have a signature fabric or collect fabric with a special design or item on it? I know a few who do. Honeybee collects fabrics with bees on it. Nancy at Quilting Quandry talks about olives in her quilts. The Calico Cat collects cat fabrics.

Can you guess what I collect?

Oh, come on, I bet you can guess!

Is it animal, vegetable or mineral?

Probably none of those.

I collect coffee and tea fabric. Below is a sample of the some of the fabrics I've purchased or received recently.

Tell us about your signature or collectible fabric. Show us some of your collection.

I'm thinking of hosting a swap after the New Year for those who have a signature fabric or want to start a collection of signature fabrics. I'm still trying to put the guidelines together, but want to know if anyone is interested. Let me know.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Good Saturday Morning! I finally put the rechargeable batteries in my camera so I have a few photos to share.

First up is my luggage made by Morah. Notice the fashionable woman in lime green. Isn't she the greatest? Now you know why DH will not be using my luggage tag! I can't wait to have a reason to use my suitcase and show her off! Thanks one more time Morah.

Here's my still wrapped SSCS gift. I can be a good girl and wait to open it. Although I may open it next Saturday. Why? you ask. One of my online groups does a Winter Solstice swap rather than a Secret Santa swap. I have three quilty surprise gifts under my tree so I'm thinking I'll make next Saturday morning my "Quilt Christmas". How does that sound?

Today we are going to look at five more condos, plus we are waiting to hear from a builder on what he would charge to custom build an end unit condo for us. We are contemplating raising our offer for one of the condos on our original list where the buyers previously rejected a verbal offer.

We are still getting the Nor'easter tomorrow and I am ready to play in my sewing room and watch football. Yeah!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Snow and Swaps and Condos, Oh My

No photos today. My camera batteries are being charged. I promise photos tomorrow.

If you've been a reader of my blog for a while you will know that I love snow. I have no problem watching it gracefully fall from and pile up on the sidewalk and streets. I get rather giddy when we get a snow storm. It is now the 13th of December and we are in the middle of our 3rd snow storm of the month. Tonight we are getting about 6 - 8 inches. So far all of the storms have been on a weekday which means I can't stay home and sew and play and watch the snow. But that will end this weekend. We are supposed to have a Nor'easter on Sunday and I am so excited. I haven't played in my sewing room for weeks and I've told DH that this weekend I am going to do just that while we get snow. I've heard we could get up to 12 inches of the white, fluffy stuff.

My SSCS package has arrived from Paradise Point, Australia. There was no name on the return address label so I'll have for Christmas morning to learn who sent the package.

I received my Winter Solstice package from one of my on-line quilt groups as well as my surprise Christmas gift I ordered from Janet at Wildcraft Farm. So now I have 3 presents under the tree and DH has none. I guess I need to go shopping for him now.

My PIF package from Morah came late last week and I've been remiss not mentioning it sooner. She sent me an adorable luggage tag made with fabric of women in swimming suits. Thanks, Morah! DH has already assured me he will not be using it.

Our purchase of the condo with the media room has come to a halt. The appraisal came in $10,000 under our purchase price. We went back to the seller and told him we wouldn't pay over the appraisal price. He counter-offered with $2,000 over the appraisal price plus he wanted to cut my broker's commission. I don't think so. Today we asked for deposit money back and walked away from the deal.

But we don't mind. Our broker went back to work and contacted the broker of the first condo we really liked to see if the owners are ready to negotiate. He also contacted a developer who is building new condos that we looked at to see if he could build one similar to the one we passed up on. (He is the same builder). He is also trying to set up showings on 5 other condos for us on Saturday. Got to love a broker who truly works for you. We will find a condo. We have said to ourselves we want to be in a new condo by Valentine's Day.

Well, I'm off to finish my glass of wine and Lindt chocolate. Then I'm taking my lavender-scented heating pad and climbing into bed. One more work day this week and then I can play!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Bump In The Road

Our road to home ownership has hit a bump in the road. This morning started well. DH and I went to Holmwoods Furniture & Design Center to look at furniture for our new home. Holmwoods is a neat place to shop because they carry everything from unfinished furniture to living room furniture to bedroom furniture to wallpaper and window treatments. The store used to be two blocks from our current home. We have bookcases, a side cabinet, a corner cabinet and the two tables in my sewing room all came from Holmwoods. The store moved into a much larger location last summer and we hadn't been there since then.

We spent a little over an hour working with a sales woman and had chosen five recliners for the media room and two barrel chairs and ottoman for the sitting area in the kitchen. While the sales woman started writing up the quote on the furniture DH called the broker to see if we could get into the condo this weekend while the owner was away so we could get the exact measurements of the media room.

This is where we hit the bump in the road. The broker told us there is a possibility the appraisal may come in less than price we have negotiated with the buyer. If that happens then one of two events would happen because we will not pay more than the appraised value. First, and the most favorable for us, is we are able to negotiate the seller down to the appraised value. Which it turns means a lower mortgage for us. The other event is the seller will refuse to lower his price and if he does, then we will walk away from the deal.

Of course, the appraisal could come in at the selling price or higher in which case everything is cool and we can go to the home inspection on Tuesday morning.

I still have not made it into my studio this week. I'm hoping I can convince myself to get in there tomorrow morning. I'm starting to feel guilty because the room is a mess and my fabric is feeling neglected.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Is There Life After Condo Shopping?

My life has become one topic centered - condo, condo, condo, oh yeah, and then there's the condo. I haven't touched my sewing machine or a stitchery project in weeks. I've been in my studio long enough to wrap my SSCS gift and I have one more Solstice swap package to get out this weekend. I doubt I'll be doing any sewing until after we move.

For those who are interested in our condo buying process our mortgage has been approved and we will have our commitment letter on Monday. The closing is on December 27th and the movers will be here at 7 am on December 28th. I haven't even started packing. That will start this weekend when DH is home from his current business trip.

I started the punch list of what we need to do before we move and what we want to do with the new place. The list grows daily rather than shrinking. Besides the items I listed in an earlier post I've decided we should get 3 new TVs. Yup, that's right. One for kitchen, one for my studio and a new one for the bedroom.

Since we won't be decorating our house for the holidays I thought I'd share two of my favorite Christmas decorations. This little angel has been part of my Christmas for as long as I can remember. She always stood watch over Baby Jesus in the manger scene. Often I would sit in front of the table where the manger was and pretend she was the lead singer in a Christmas concert. I found her when we cleaned our my parent's home last summer and brought her home with me.

I found this quilted wreath when DH and I were on a retreat at a Catholic retreat center. It was made by one of Sisters who lives there. I love it. In our new place I think I will get hung on the back side of the kitchen island.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season wherever you are. I feel sorry for Tracey. She wrote a post about experiencing Christmas in summertime Australia as opposed to spending Christmas in winter time in the Northern Hemisphere. Tracey, if I could ship you snow for Christmas I would. Maybe you'll just have to come and visit us in the U.S. during the holidays.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Blame it on Finn!

You Are Christmas

More than most people, you are able to find magic in life's small moments.
Traditions mean a lot to you, and you tend to be quite nostalgic.
You are a giving, kind person who really understands the true meaning of holidays.
You inspire others to be as altruistic and caring as you are.

What makes you celebrate: Tradition and a generous spirit

At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The storyteller. You like to recount memories with everyone.

On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Give a gift to everyone you know

Sunday, December 02, 2007

December Goals

My December goals are centered around one activity and it's not Christmas, although Christmas is on the agenda. DH and I have a joint goal this month - get to the closing on our new condo on December 27th. Yup, that's right. Today we signed the P&S agreement for a new condo.

We were able to purchase the condo for more than $30,000 under the original listing price last spring. We are excited and already have quite a few plans in place. First, the kitchen area along with the adjoining bath are painted a bold red. I like red, but there is simply too much red in the space. We will keep some of the red, but not all of it. The lights over the kitchen island, the sink and the dining room table are going to replaced. They may be $5,000 in custom lighting, but I hate them. Anyone want to buy them? Instead of the dining table we are going to put in two chairs like these and an ottoman. The ottoman is cool because the lid flips over to become a serving tray. The bar area with the TV can be seen from this spot so I'm sure I'll be enjoying my morning coffee and some stitchery time there. The living room in the photos is going to become our dining room and entryway. The theater room is going to be our media room with our 50 inch TV on the wall. If you've read my blog for sometime you know we are big sports fans in our house and this media room has been a dream of ours for since we started condo hunting. We never imagined we would be able to buy a condo with the room already built in. All we have to do is add the speakers and that's one of the cheaper parts of the room.

My sewing room is on the third floor. The room is 15 x 11 and has two 5-foot long closets along one wall, two windows another wall and lots of other wall space for a design wall. I spent this afternoon web surfing and playing with the room layout and I have enough room for my sewing table, cube shelving, a new desk and a large pressing table like Judy Martin has in her room. Although I think I'll set it up to be a cutting and pressing table. I will put my scrap cart in one of the closets along with lots of shelves for UFOs and fabric storage. I will be buying a TV to hang on the wall over the pressing table. I have a small upholstered chair that will fit in there too so I'll have a place to sit and do handwork when DH is traveling.

I did a little Christmas sewing done today. Not nearly as much as I need to and I get the feeling some people in the family may get their Christmas gifts in January.

I'm still waiting for the snow to start falling here. The weather channel says it won't start until 9 PM, a little more than an hour from now. It's going to snow for more than 12 hours with the heaviest snow predicted for the morning commuting hours. I think I'm going get up early and get on the road before the majority of commuters. With this being the first major snowstorm of the year there will be plenty of crazy drivers out there and I want to avoid them.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Bummed and Happy At The Same Time

Today has been a day of ups and down.

Down - I haven't been sleeping well the last few nights. I fall asleep easily, but have been waking up at 3 am and laying awake or lightly dozing until 6 am. Up - This morning while laying in bed and listening to the radio I heard the weatherman say we could get 6 - 10 inches of snow Sunday night into Monday morning! It was all I could do to not leap out of bed and wake up DH with the news. I love snow! I'm worse than a child a Christmas when waiting for a snow storm. So my day started out great.

Down - Once I got up and made my coffee I wandered into my sewing room to finish my wrapping my Secret Santa gift for getting out in the mail today. This is the view that greeted me as I walked in the door and this is view when I looked the other way. I'm ashamed to show these photos, because I am not a messy person by nature, but between getting ready Christmas, having company last weekend and condo shopping I haven't taken the time to clean the room up. In case you're wondering the last photo is what my room looked like when I moved in 18 months ago.

Up - After a quick trip to the post office I was off to my hairdresser. While there I got a call from my LQS letting me know that the MistyFuse I ordered had arrived. When I asked her how late they were open today she said they were open until 5 and they were having their Christmas party today. Everything you purchased would be 20% off and if I would be one of the first 25 customers I would get a Christmas box with an additional goodie in it. I didn't think I would make it to the store in time to get the Christmas box, but the prospect of 20% off my purchase worked for me.

Down - DH decided to have me drive him to the airport instead of taking the bus. With the approaching storm he didn't want to leave the car in the bus lot and risk getting it plowed in. I told him that was OK as long as I could stop at the LQS first.

Up - We stopped at the LQS. I discovered she now carries Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazines. So besides the MistyFuse I bought 2 issues of the magazine. When I started to check out she asked me to get one of the Christmas boxes below the register. I took a box and opened it up. I won two free patterns of my choice. So I chose these patterns - Little Charmers II and Little Charmers III. Since I have a drawer full of nickels including some charm packs these patterns will come in handy using up the fabric and allow me to practice machine quilting.

Not much else happened after that. We stopped for lunch on the way to the airport. I was home late this afternoon and took a late nap. I'm finishing up dinner now and then I think I'll take a hot shower and a sleeping pill and I hope I sleep all night long. I'll try not to think about the coming snowstorm or wonder when I'll hear from the seller on our latest condo offer.

Melinda and Doni have agreed to play Pay it Forward. There is one more open spot on my PIF list. Let me know if you'd Pay It Forward. See the details below.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pay It Forward and Still Hunting

I signed up for the Pay It Forward on Morah's blog. If you are one for first three people to leave a comment on my blog and ask to join the Pay It Forward I will send you a small giftie after the holidays. Wouldn't it be a lot of fun to find a giftie in your mail box after Christmas? Of course it would. In return you agree to advertise the Pay It Forward on your blog and send along gifties to someone else. I know this PIF has been traveling for a few days so I hope there are still some interested participants out there.

Condo Update:
We are still playing the waiting game on condos. We made an offer on Condo #1 on Sunday. Other than the offer to reduce the price by $5,000 which was made before we even made our offer, they wouldn't lower their price. It appears they are not motivated sellers. They don't even have a plan in place for when they sell their condo, other than they want to move to Massachusetts. Bummer. After we visited the condo on Sunday morning we truly fell in love with the place.

On Thursday we are going to visit Condo #3 again for an extended viewing. We may make another offer on it if we are still like it. Our biggest issue will be deciding if we can change our lifestyle from one floor of living to three floors of living.

Since I still don't have any new quilt photos to share, I thought I'd share one of my favorite photos from last winter. This is an April snowstorm. Big, fat, wet snow. I love it. I wish we had some snow now. Oh well, maybe soon, we'll have some gorgeous snow.

Don't forget to sign up for the PIF. You won't regret it!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm Still Here

It's been an eventful week on the condo hunting front and not on the quilting front. We made an offer on Condo #3, the one with a room wired for a home theater system, security system and 1,950 square feet. When we looked at the prices again we realized the condo #3 was priced lower than condo #1. I'm not sure how we missed that, but we did.

On Wednesday we made an offer and then had to wait through Thanksgiving to see if our offer was taken. Yesterday a counter-offer came back higher than we are still willing to pay. So while DH and I were getting our couple's massage and pedicure we had time to think about the offer. We want this condo and will try one more counter offer to see if we can get the deal made.

Tomorrow we are going back to condo #1 for one more viewing. Our broker told us he received a call from the broker of the condo and they are willing to drop the price $5,000. However, they also learned the condo fees are going up $10 a month in January.

I did manage to spend quite a bit of time on Thursday and yesterday sewing Christmas gifts. However, today the packing panic set in. If our offer on the condo is accepted the closing is scheduled for December 21. That's only a little over a month away! We could be in our home for Christmas! With working over 40 hours a week and DH traveling one full week in December that doesn't leave a lot of time for packing and cleaning and everything else that comes with moving.

Sorry for lack of photos. Everything I'm making these days is for presents and I don't know who reads my blog so no photos. Tomorrow is the Christmas parade and I'll be sure take photos then to share. I'm also way behind on blog reading and commenting. I'm going to work on some of that right now.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Secret Santa

Please don't show my present. I like surprises at Christmas. I promise to be a good girl and not open my present until Christmas.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Condo Hunting Day

No quilting today. DH and I spent the day condo hunting with our Buyer's Broker today. Our list started out with nine condos. At the first location there were two condos on the list. Our broker met us outside and told us he wouldn’t show us one of them because the layout wouldn’t work for us and was awkward. Worked for me. I like a broker who understands what we want and will steer us away from places he know won’t work for us. The condo we did see was unique, but had too many negatives too outweigh the positives.

3 1/2 hours and eight condos later DH and I went to the local sports bar to mull over our choices. There are two condos that are high on our list and one that is a close 3rd. Condo #1 is three floors including two garages at ground level. The living room is large and get lots of sun. The dining room is nicely done, as is the kitchen. The bedrooms are on the 3rd floor. The master bedroom is large and has two closets, but the master bathroom only has a stand up shower. There is a full bathroom on the second floor. The 2nd BR would be a great studio space. The current owners have it set up as a 2-person office and the set up is similar to what I would do for my studio space. I have already had discussions with DH about letting me use the dining room as a part-time sewing space so I could still be in the middle of the action when he is home. He’s OK with that.

Condo #2 is a newly renovated condo. It is an older home that has been gutted and completely redone and turned into condos. The unit we looked at is listed as three bedrooms and is on the 2nd floor. We don't need three bedrooms and would use one of the rooms as an office. The master bedroom is large and has a bay window. The 3rd bedroom is 17 x 11 and is right off the kitchen and would make an excellent quilting studio. The condo also has a mudroom/entry space. The condo is one floor which is one of the features I’ve been looking for. It is also priced 35,000 less than Condo #1 and has a lot of upside potential.

Condo #3 is on the list because it has a lot of nifty features including security system, built-in bar with TV in the kitchen, great custom paint job and an installed home theater system. This condo is at the very top of our price range and in the long run we probably wouldn’t make a lot of money when we would sell it in 5 – 7 years.

We are still discussing our options, but may make a move on one of these three condos in the next few weeks. Of course, our agent could make the call to our landlord and convince him to turn our apartment into a condo and then we would be very happy.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Christmas - Sweet P Style

Chookyblue asked us to share what we do for Christmas, what we eat, etc. So here I am to tell you my story.

My youngest memory of Christmas is sitting up waiting for my godmother to come to our house at midnight after she got off her shift at the coffee shop at the hospital. By then we had been to candlelight service at church and I was in my warmest jammies (I grew up in Minnesota) waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. When my godmother arrived my mom served oyster stew and hot dogs (for me). My godmother always brought the coolest presents that were wrapped in the neatest ways. It was often more fun to open the present than the present itself.

Fast forward to my first Christmas away from family. I was 22 years old, married and had 3 young boys. We were living in Orlando, FL and I was so bummed because there was no snow and it was 80 degrees. I was trying to define a tradition that would become our own. Since there were 5 of us I took 5 slips of paper and wrote a part of a meal on each slip - appetizer, main dish, vegetable, beverage and dessert. Then each of us picked a slip of paper. Whatever course we picked we got to choose that item for our Christmas Eve dinner. That first year we had nachos, pepperoni pizza, broccoli with cheese, Gatorade and chocolate cake. That was 23 years ago and to this day, DS asks if we are going to do the dinner draw again. Of course we do, only now each person has to do their own cooking.

Christmas Day is now spent at MIL's house with 50 people. Yup, that's right 50 people. It's a lot of people and very overwhelming, especially when it comes time to open the presents. Then it becomes a virtual zoo. Gift wrap and bows and children everywhere. So many gifts that the children don't even know what to do and the parents get so tired trying to keep track of everything. I'm glad my children are grown so they can take care of their own presents.

I sound like a Scrooge. Don't get me wrong. I love the meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ. I'm all set with the commercialization of Christmas.

Thanks for reading about my Christmas activities. I hope you share your Christmas or Chanukah activities and favorite foods.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Finally A Stitchery Finish

I finally finished a stitchery project! Hooray. This is one of the blocks from a quilt pattern in this past summer's issue of a Country Threads Stitchery issue. It's about 8 inches square. You can see I stitched it on WOW fabric. I'm happy with the results. Now I just need to decide how to finish it. I'm thinking of a small wall hanging.

My FIL never ceases to amaze me. When he found out I was called for jury duty during December he insisted I call our company attorney to see if I could get the time changed. As he put it, "December is our strategic planning month and I need you (meaning me) in the office." So I called the attorney, he called the County Court Clerk and lo, and behold, my jury duty has been switched to March. I don't whether to be happy or not. I want to serve jury duty, but I'm furious that my boss made me change the dates.

So what's next on my list of projects? I pulled out my Streak of Red blocks on Sunday night and I've made 3 more blocks and part of 4th block. I need to make 10 blocks for the quilt. I have no idea how the quilt will turn out since I didn't wash the red fabrics and I'm using white blocks. I'm guessing the reds will run, but that's OK with me. The quilt is more of an experiment than anything else.

Helen tagged me for Why Do I Craft Meme. The rules are: Answer the following on your blog and then let five other bloggers know that you have tagged them to complete the meme.

1. When did you start to create and make crafts? I've been making things for as long as I can remember. My grandma was always doing some kind of handwork - cross stitch, needlepoint, bead work, sewing, crocheting. Grandma lived across the street so I spent lots of time with her. From the time I was a young child until my teenage years I was always making something with Grandma. You can read more about Dema here.

2. Why did you start creating? I've always loved to make things. As I child I did it to get attention. Not many of my friends made things so it was fun sharing with them what I made at Grandma's house. When I was in high school I didn't have as much time to create and then I got married and had children. For a few years I stopped creating. Then I needed an activity to keep me occupied when my first husband was in the Navy and out to sea. I started doing counted cross stitch then and I still have a few of those projects buried away somewhere. When I left my first husband I stopped creating for a while. Money was tight and I didn't have left over money for crafting. About 5 years ago I passed a truck that had a sign on the side that said "Art Lessons". I had always wanted to learn to draw so I sent an email to the address and was soon taking private art lessons. During those lessons I painted these two paintings that hang in my living room, this floor cloth of the 7th hole at Pebble Beach and this mosaic back splash for the kitchen.

3. Why do I create? I create because I don't know how not to create. I'm happiest when I'm creating something.

4. What do you create? These days I create I can with needle, thread and fabric. I love stitcheries. I have several baby and lap quilts waiting to be finished. Most of my UFOs are also lap size or larger. I think I need to start making smaller projects.

5. Has this changed since you began crafting? What has changed is my desire to try new methods and new fabrics. If someone asks for a pattern to be tested I'm in. However, I'm not a fan of mystery quilts. Does that make sense?

This meme has been making the rounds, so if you haven't been tagged yet, consider yourself tagged.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Last Day of My Retreat

Last night after I wrote my post I went into my studio. I felt the urge to sew something. I just didn't know what. I picked the nickel squares or my mom's Shoo Fly quilt, but I didn't feel like starting to sew the 200 HSTs I need for the quilt.

I dug around on my shelves and found the container holding my Streak of Red quilt pieces. This is a hand piecing project that I started last summer. Since I have started redwork and stitcheries I've lost interest in hand piecing. So, I did the next best move, I started machine piecing the blocks. I only have one of 16 blocks completely hand pieced and a portion of the second block hand pieced. I finished the block and sewed another one together. Then I was ready for bed.

Today I passed my medical appts. with flying colors. In between my gyn appt and the eye doctor I shopped at Joanne's. I found decorating fabric for making tote bags (on sale, of course), batting for two quilts and backing for my Butterfly Migration quilt. I also found goodies for my Secret Santa swap partner and my Solstice Swap partner.

When I got home this afternoon I took a nap. What a wonderful thing to do on a day off. When I woke up I sewed 20 of the 200 HSTs for mom's quilt. I also sewed one more Streak of Red block. I'm very tired tonight so I doubt I'll do any stitchery work.

All in all I had a wonderful retreat weekend. I got a lot done and worked on the projects I wanted to work on. I think I'll be able to retreat over Thanksgiving weekend. I don't think DH has any special activities planned.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What I Do When I Get Mad

This morning I was enjoying my chit chat with some on-line friends when DH called from NYC. I thought it was our “good morning” conversation; but it wasn’t. To make a long story short, the company at the Javitz Center lost our 2 booth boxes. So DH and our two sales staff have no booth, no handouts, nothing for the show where we are supposed to be exhibiting. So I had to spend time sending them files to print and getting hold of my assistant to speak with the company. Needless to say, someone is going to pay for the mistake and it isn't going to be our company.

Two hours later I was back on my own schedule and trying to calm down. I hadn’t read the morning paper, hadn’t done my football picks and hadn’t been near my studio yet. I needed to act fast before I started coming apart at the seams.

So what did I do? I printed off the directions from Valori Wells blog on making a grocery tote bag, pulled the only decorating fabric I had in my closet and made a grocery bag. Considering I paid $1 a yard for this fabric over a year ago to make curtains and never did, this bag was pretty cheap. I can’t wait to use it. Don't you think it's the perfect grocery bag for a quilter? I still have plenty of this fabric left so I think I'll be making some more bags soon.

I'm doing well on my retreat list. Here's a photo of my Butterfly Migration top. I love it. Now I need to find backing fabric for it. Perhaps I'll do some shopping tomorrow morning between doctor visits.

I haven't started a new stitchery, at least not yet. I still have one more day of my retreat. Today I started the hand binding on my Birthday Garden quilt, but pricked my finger with the supposedly blunt end of the needle and it hurts. I may do some stitchery work yet tonight depends on how long I can stay awake.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Retreat List

It’s Saturday morning and I’m almost ready to play – or at least when I finish my breakfast. The sun is shining here and we won’t be getting the storm they were talking about earlier this week. Darn, I was so hoping for another stormy Saturday. I love to play when it's storming outside.

Here’s my list for the weekend:
  • Finish Butterfly Migration top - DONE
  • Finish binding on Wicked Girly. I’ve been sleeping under it for over a month and I still have about 4 feet of binding to sew on - DONE
  • Machine sew binding on front Birthday Garden quilt - DONE, started hand stitching
  • Machine sew binding on at least one of DIL’s quilts - decided DIL would do the machine stitching
  • Finish imaginative stitchery block - DONE on 11/14/07
  • Work on Secret Santa and Solstice swap gifts - decided on what I'm going to make
  • Start one new stitchery -No

Mmmmm . . . Sounds like a lot. Stay tuned to see if I get any or all of these done!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Mail Goodies and a Retreat

From now until Monday I am on my own time. I took Monday off because I set up three medical appts - the dentist, my yearly gyn appt and then picking up my new glasses. DH is off to New York for the whole week and my DIL/boss is ready to travel to London for the week. What do you think I'm going to do? I'm going to stay in the house and play with fabric and threads. I have a long list of projects I want to work on so I'm sure I won't run out of UFOs to work on between now and then.

On the way home tonight I stopped at the grocery store and loaded up on tons of comfort food including a Shepherd's Pie, cheese tortellini and Thanksgiving Soup. I'm ready to hunker down and enjoy some serious time alone.

My retreat weekend started yesterday with two packages in my mail. The first package was from Paula, the Quilter in honor of the Red Sox winning the World Series. What a terrific collection of gifts - coffee fabrics, thimble magnets, a pattern, a heart teacup and Guatemalan coffee. I had some of the coffee this morning and it's yummy.

The best part of the package is this logo she drew for me. She suggested it would make a great stitchery. She took her cue from the photo of me here. Then she took the photo of my first redwork project and put it on the block. I absolutely love the drawing and will definitely stitch it up sometime in the future. Thanks, Paula, for a wonderful gift!

My other package was my prize winnings from Wildcraft Farm. They are quilt cards that include the directions for making the stitcheries. Two more items for me to stitch.

Today I received one more stitchery treat - Chocolage. A book of full of chocolate stitcheries and chocolate recipes. Where do I start? I really don't know.

I planned this weekend to be a weekend of finishes, but now that I have all these wonderful stitchery patterns I am so tempted to start a new project. What do you think I should do?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Butterfly Migration Quilt Pattern

I've had a couple requests for the quilt pattern for the butterfly quilt. You can find it on QuiltBug.

No quilting tonight. I'm "testing" my leg by sitting on the couch. I realized yesterday that my leg starts to cramp up and hurt when I spend 3 or 4 hours on the couch. I don't know if I can stay awake enough to sit here that long, but we'll see. I'm glad I have a laptop!

Nicole at Sister's Choice showed what quilt is on her bed and challenged others to play along. I currently have my Wicked Girly quilt on my bed. This photo was taken before I put the binding on. But now the binding is done and it's on my bed keeping my plenty warm. The name Wicked Girly is because the quilt is pink and yellow and has lots of flowers. Plus the back side of the quilt is lingerie fabric. I made it for me this past summer to use when DH is traveling. I used it while he was gone in October and even though he is home we are still using it.

Someday, after we buy a new house, I'll make a duvet cover for our down comforter that isn't so girly. For now, Wicked Girly it is.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Today is baby boy's 23rd birthday. I guess he's no longer a baby. He is a fantastic young man. This is a photo of him and I at DS #2's wedding last summer. Isn't he just a handsome dude? OK, I'm allowed to say that, I am his mom. I called him today to see what he and GF did for his birthday. They went clothes shopping for her and then she took him out to lunch. I kidded him about shopping for her instead of him, but at least she bought lunch.

I didn't get a lot sewing done today. Too much football to watch and an achy leg kept me on the couch. I spent some time working on some cutting instructions for a couple quilts - one for me and one for DIL. I'm introduced her to HSTs and Thangles and I needed to adjust the cutting directions for her next quilt. She sewed the Thangles, cut them apart, ironed a few of them and tore off the paper. She still isn't sure she likes HSTs or triangles.

I found the fabric for binding my Birthday Garden quilt that I thought I had lost. So I sewed the strips together and now it's waiting to be ironed so I can finish that quilt. I finally got two big blocks done of the Butterfly Migration quilt I've been working on. I didn't realize how the stripes in the green fabric create movement in the blocks. I have four more blocks to make and then the inside of the top will be done. I really need to get moving on this quilt as the baby it is for is now about one month old.

DH leaves for New York this coming Friday and is gone for one week. My FIL leaves Sunday night for 5 days in London. So next weekend should be a quiet one for me. I'm planning on a stay at home retreat starting Friday night. There is no Patriots football, so I'll have one less distraction throughout the weekend.

Anyone want to have a cyber retreat with me next weekend? Maybe we could share our favorite recipes for what we cook when we want to concentrate on quilting during the week and then quilt our way through the weekend.

It's late, I'm tired and my leg is killing me. The doctor has increased my pain meds and I started the new prescription this afternoon. So far it hasn't helped, but it's the type of med that you have to take for awhile so it will work. I'll give it a couple days and if my leg is not better by Tuesday I'll call the doctor. I think I have sciatica, but I'm not sure. Whatever it is, I'm ready for the pain to go away. Enough whining for now. Have a great start to the week!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

And The Winner Is . . .

I apologize for not posting the winner earlier this week as I promised. The week slipped by and before I knew it Saturday morning was here. My DIL came over to quilt today. But first we had to go buy border, backing and binding fabric for our Wicked Easy twin quilts. Oh darn! We found striped fabric from the same fabric line. She got purple and green stripes and I got pink and green stripes. At least we'll be able to tell the quilts apart that way.

We got to the store, found fabric, had lunch and got home before the remnants of Hurricane Noel descended upon New Hampshire. We spent the afternoon working on various projects. She tied one quilt and made the binding for another quilt. I finished the mystery quilt top and now am designing borders. Of course, we finished the Wicked Easy twin quilts. It is still raining here and it is cold and damp. It was a great day to stay inside and sew.

Someone mentioned to me we need to wear sunglasses to look at them. I told my DIL what I was told and we decided to name the quilts Sunglasses Needed. I am going to make a small pocket for each of them and buy some child sunglasses to put in the pockets.

Oh yeah, the winner, I need to announce the winner of my 200th post drawing. Dot of Rantala Rags come on down! I'll forgive you for not being a Red Sox fan as long as the Yankees are not your favorite team. Send me your snail mail address and I will send out a goodie package to you.

Tomorrow is another sewing day for me. I have some bindings to sew on and the butterfly quilt to finish. Of course, the big event of the day is the Patriots - Colts football game at 4 pm.

Don't forget that if you live in an area where the time changes, tonight is the night to change your clocks. What are going to do with your extra hour? I'm hoping to get an extra hour to sleep, but I'd settle for an extra hour of quilting too.