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.