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.