Thursday, August 28, 2008

Coffee Time Quilt Studio Tour

A couple of my on-line groups have been sharing photos of their sewing rooms. I thought I'd join the fun and share mine as it looks today. So grab a cuppa of your favorite beverage and come along to Coffee Time Quilt Studio.

My studio is at the top of the stairs. This is what you see as look straight into the room. The windows face the east and I get tons of morning light. My design wall is to the right. It is an office divider wall I got from work. The rocking chair was a Christmas present to me. It is painted in Red Sox red and blue and has Red Sox logo on it. I use it as a place to do hand work or when I have my laptop in the studio or as a work space when company comes to visit and sew.
Here is my main work area. The table is for the sewing machine. I have a small storage unit I bought from IKEA for my sewing machine tools, extra hand needles, rotary blades, etc. The kitchen island I bought as my moving in gift for the studio. I use as my cutting and work space. In the base cabinet I store WIPs. It has four drawers that hold miscellaneous odds and ends. There are four open shelves that store some completed tops, a few books and printing supplies.
The north wall has two 5-foot closets. The one in right is all mine. What do I have in here? On the top shelf the baskets hold some UFOs and fabric. The box is all my Christmas fabric. The next shelf down is another box of UFOs and there are some other storage containers you can't see. The next shelf holds completed tops and my sewing extension table. On the right is my pine cart that holds cut scraps. The plastic bin holds FQs. I use the bar stool when I want to sit and design. I got it free when I purchased the kitchen island.
The left closet holds a mix of stuff: winter coats on the left; a hanging shelf from IKEA I use for storing backing fabrics; DH's old shirts waiting for me to cut apart and use them. There is some batting in there too. The moving box on the floor on the left is scraps. The box on the right is desk top items from our old place. I need to clean it out and pass on some of those items.
As you turn to the right from looking at the closets I have this shelving unit from Target. On top are my collectibles: pin cushions, jars of buttons, a doll. The red and yellow baskets hold various future projects. The purple basket is my stitchery work. On the bottom shelves are printouts from my Quilt University classes and notebooks of quilt patterns. The wooden box and the container under it hold my machine threads. The pink table cloth on top was my great aunt's. It's probably the most girly-girl item in the studio.
Next to the shelves is my previous cutting table that now holds my 32 inch flat panel TV (I have to able to watch my sports while sewing, don't I?). Projects I'm working on will often fins a place to rest here. Underneath the table is my antique sewing table (BTW, lemon oil and a day in the sun got rid of the musty, smokey smell). I always keep a couple of empty boxes on hand for mailing out goodies. There are two paintings I made for our old place that waiting for a second life in our new place. I will probably cover them with fabric and hang them somewhere. Even though the cutting table, sewing table and kitchen island were purchased a different times, they are from the same furniture line. All of them need to be refinished and I'm thinking of using some Red Sox and Patriots colors to do that.
The last item in the room is the bookcase. My cable box is on top along with items that get put down when I walk in the door. Yup, I don't have a lot of quilt books. In fact the lower right shelf is mostly home renovation books. I gave away a lot of books when we moved. I kept those that had techniques I want to try or patterns I'm interested in making. There is a sewing basket my MIL gave me. On the bottom right shelf is my fabric for my Butterfly Garden quilt.

I hope you enjoyed your tour of Coffee Time Quilt Studio. Come on over anytime! I'd love to have you visit me.
Sweet P

Monday, August 25, 2008

Help! Do You Have Any of This Checked Fabric?

Update: I have found the fabric I need! Thanks for all your help!

Hello there! I'm wondering if anyone out there has this teeny, tiny checked fabric in colors other than the ones I have? For your reference, these patches are made from 1 1/2 inch squares.
I have the fabric in red, pink, light green, black, navy blue and purple.
I have a pattern in mind for these patches, but it would be even better if I could find the checked fabric in at least two other colors. I only need enough fabric to make 15 - 20 one and a half inch squares. I'm willing to trade and/or pay for postage.

Please let me know if you can help me out. Thanks!
Sweet P

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Little Red

I always dressed rather conservatively in my former life (AKA before my meltdown earlier this year). While on medical leave I have lived in shorts and camisoles or tank tops. Half my work wardrobe has been packed away and the other half is neatly hanging in my closet.

This summer I've started buying new and bolder jewelry, but not new clothes. No real reason to at first. Until this weekend. DH said he needed to go clothes shopping for new dress slacks, shirts and ties. Since we were going shopping on our way to Boston to see Neil Diamond I had a chance to look at some new clothes.

We are attending a friend's wedding next weekend in Washington, DC and I half-heartedly thought about getting a new dress. Little did I know what I was going to find . . .

A little red dress:
A pair red shoes . . . look at those heels . . .
I haven't wore heels this high in ages.
Of course, a little red purse to go with the dress and shoes . . .
What do you suppose is in the box?
A tie, hanky and cuff links for DH to wear with his suit at the wedding.
Wouldn't this tie make a great quilt? Actually there were a lot of ties that would make great quilts. The next time I need some quilting inspiration, I'm going to stroll through a few tie racks.
This man? This is DH showing off his Summer Poker Tournament Trophy. He won the tournament, the trophy and first place winnings.
I finished my Swap Bag for Linda's swap. I'll be ready to mail the package on Sept. 2 since there is no mail in the US on the 1st. I also stitched a few more postage stamp 4-patches in the car on the way to Boston.

Neil Diamond? He was awesome! Anyone who is Boston Red Sox fan knows that during the 7th inning stretch Sweet Caroline is always played and the crowd always joins in the chorus:
Sweet Caroline - ba ba ba
Good times never felt so good (yell loud) "So Good, So Good, So Good"
etc., etc.
It was so incredibly awesome to see and hear Neil open the concert with the song and then sing it again halfway through the concert.

I can't believe August is almost over. Where did the summer go? I'm ready for fall though. It is my favorite season of the year. Between the leaves changing colors and football I'll be heaven for a few months.

Sweet P

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Daily Mail

I have a "thing" for getting my mail. For as long as I can remember getting the mail from the mail box has been the highlight of my day. I can't tell you why it was important before I started quilting since most mail was bills. But now, squishies come in the mail and that makes getting mail exciting.

Our old place was the only residence in a commercial building and it wasn't until we moved into a residential complex earlier this year that I realized what had been missing in my daily mail: JUNK MAIL!!! Junk mail doesn't get delivered to commercial buildings. We never got anything addressed to: Resident or Our Friends at XXX at the old place. Now it's a different story in our new place.

I am expecting a squishie of postage stamp charms from my Postage Stamp group. The package was mailed from Scotland earlier this month. I thought today might be the day.

A few minutes ago I heard the mailman pull up and anxiously watched him fill the mailboxes. As soon as he left I put on my shoes, grabbed the mail box key and went to get the mail.

When I opened the box I saw this pile of junk mail! Boohoo! No squishie today!
I was just about to toss the whole stack out (none of it was addressed to us personally) when the two items below caught my eye:
They aren't squishies, but they are quilt-related. I've decided to take a break, prop my feet up and read. Probably just as well the charms didn't come today. I'm not in the mood to play with fabric anyway (and if you believe that, I have some cheap land for you to buy).

Thanks for all the suggestions on the table. I thought I had Old English cleaner but when I went to get it I found a bottle of lemon oil for cleaning wood. I rubbed the table down with the oil and put the table on the deck in the sunshine. I'll see how it turns out later tonight. Stay tuned!

Sweet P

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Who Needs Directions?

I never would have thought putting four legs on a small table would be difficult. After all, there are four legs and four places to put the legs. I attached one leg, OK, attached another leg, didn't fit so well. Tried another leg, still had problems, started cursing seller for taking off the legs.

I took a good look at the table and what do my wandering eyes should appear? One tiny hole between the two nail holes here.
And two tiny holes between the nail holes here.
Mmmmmmm . . . I wonder if there are corresponding holes on the legs. Tada!!!! There are matching holes on the legs. The person who made this table is leagues ahead of IKEA.
Voila! Here is the roll top sewing table fully assembled.
And here is the sewing table when it's open. Those containers slide and come out to reveal more storage space below.
The owner of the table also included this basket . . .
Filled with these old notions.
So here's my question of the day - is there anyway to rid of the dusty, musty, smokey smell of the wood and the basket? I'm assuming there's not much I can do about the notions. All suggestions are welcomed.

Sweet P

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bag Swap Sneak Peak

Friday I went shopping to choose the fabric for my bag swap tote bag. I found this lovely fabric to pair with a stitchery. I know my swap partner will be happy with her tote bag. Now I need to make the bag.
Yesterday I picked my antique sewing table. It's gorgeous. I will post photos tomorrow. I also visited a quilt friend and we went to her LQS. I was very good at the store. I purchased three FQs, two for projects and one just because I like it; a Quilter's Home magazine; a Sew-by-Row book and a beaded pin kit to get jump started on my beading.

Today I finished my Valori Wells challenge project. I should be able to post photos of it later this week.

Again, I say thank you to all the wonderful words of encouragement I've received from many of you this past week. All of you have helped me get through a difficult week. Hopefully this coming week will be better.

Happy stitching!
Sweet P

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thank You

I want to say thank you for all the kind words and comments on my last post. Sometimes I want to take every woman who thinks she can do it all and not take care of herself in the process and shake her until she realizes SHE COMES FIRST! I don't know why our society doesn't teach young women how to nurture herself.

If anyone is interested I have read two books recently that spoke strongly to me and have helped me along the way. The first one, Zen and the Art of Housekeeping, is a great little book. Don't be put off by the title. The author talks about keeping home and enjoying it, along with several green tips to house cleaning.

The other book is Inventing the Rest of Our Lives: Women in Second Adulthood by Suzanne Braun Levine. Although I'm a few years short of 50, this book has provided me a path for the rest of my life. I think every woman nearing the age of 50 or is over 50 should read this book. And then go out and have a fantastic Second Adulthood.

OK, now I'll hop off my soapbox. I could go on and on . . . but I'll save some advice for another day.

The photo is my Walkin' The Line quilt hanging over our bed. At the moment it's being held up by push pins, but you get the idea. I love it over the bed. Now we just need to find the right color paint for the walls. I hate the current color. I'd like to pick one of the fabrics for the curtains. I'm thinking the border fabric would make great curtains. What do you think?

I need to get working on my swap tote bag. I have the design picked out. I have most of the fabric. I just need to get my butt into my studio to do it.

Until next time, Happy Stitching!
Sweet P

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Meeting Follow-Up

Thanks for all the wonderful comments about my Walkin' The Line quilt. DH loves it and wants to make it into our headboard. I will be quilting it with batting only and then attaching it to a well-padded board and we will hang it just over our bed. It will become the focal point for our bedroom.

Thanks also for the all the kind words about my meeting yesterday. I haven't talked much about being on medical leave the last few months but your words of encouragement have prompted me to share some of my story.

Back in April I had a mental "meltdown" for lack of a better word. I don't call it a breakdown although some people may call it. I had been under an extreme amount of stress at work and working in the family business only compounded the stress. Over the winter months I started having what I now were anxiety attacks. I thought it was symptoms of peri-menopause. I went to see my gyn. She checked me out and agreed with me. We decided to keep a watch on my symptoms before we chose to take any type of hormonal treatment.

In early April I was feeling more tense, unable to sleep and unable to focus so I went to see my primary care doctor. He put me on Effexor. A few days after I started the medication I had a day where I was so tired I could hardly walk up and down the stairs in our home. I took three two-hour naps that day and thought I would be better the next morning. The next morning, which was a Monday, DH and I took our morning shower (yes, we shower together and I'm proud of it). As we were getting out of the shower I panicked and told him I couldn't bear the thought of going to the office and I was staying home. The same even happened Tuesday morning. I decided to ask my boss to take the week off and work from home. I was convinced I was just rundown and needed to be alone.

Later that week DH and I realized there was more going on with me than just being rundown. He and my boss insisted I go on medical leave and not work at all until I was better - however long that would be. DH also made me set up a counseling appointment. I'm glad both of those events happened. After a few therapy appointments my therapist diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, mostly caused by my work environment. The last four months have been eye-opening to say the least. For the first time in my life I am living my life for ME and not just to please other people. I have always been a people pleaser and seldom took care of myself. Now I take of myself and I'm a happier person.

Just to make this post quilty, here's another quilt from the quilt festival. It's the only redwork quilt I saw there. There were little, if any, quilts that incorporate stitchery and quilting. I think we need to import some Australian quilters to New England!
Happy stitching!
Sweet P

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Day 2 Quilt-a-thon Progress

My Quilt-a-thon was a success for me.

I finished the top of Walkin' The Line this morning. I love how it looks. DH and I have decided the quilt will be the focal point of our master bedroom. It may hang on the wall or be draped over the end of the bed. We will choose a brown from the quilt for the wall color. We had thought about painting the walls blue, but a friend told me they painted their bedroom walls blue and the room feels "cold" in the winter. I currently have blue paint test areas in the room and agree with her.

I also worked on the 9-patches I'm making from the galoshes fabric. I have the rows for 25 of them sewn. I still don't know what I'm going to do with them when they are done. I'm just sewing them for fun right now.

Tomorrow I have to attend a sales meeting. This is the first time in four months I have been involved in an office activity. I have been working at home the last few weeks which has worked out well. I am anxious about going to the meeting. I am glad DH will be there. I'm not sure I could handle it without him being there. It will be an interesting day to say the least.

Have a great week!
Sweet P

Day 1 Quilt-a-thon Progress

Considering I tweaked my lower back on Friday and could hardly make it to bed that night I had a productive day in the Coffee Time Quilt studio yesterday.

I was my studio by 7:30 am and working on my Valori Wells challenge. I have it all finished except for hand sewing the binding. Would you believe I don't have thread to match the fabric? Oh darn, it means I'll have to go shopping at Joann's. My iron got all gunky using my pressing cloth and I can't find my iron cleaner either. My list for Joann's is already growing!

My next project was my Walkin' The Line brown and teal quilt. I finished the inside of the top and added half of the first border. I'll finish it this morning.

I can't share a photo of my challenge project until later this week after the deadline on Tuesday. I'll post a photo of the quilt tonight.

I am way behind on leaving comments on blogs. My plan is to get caught up tonight when I can't sit and sew anymore.

I'll leave with a photo of my favorite quilt from the Lowell Quilt Festival. It's called Irrational Exuberance and was made by Ellen Aron of Littleton, MA. I love the color choices and the mix of blocks she used. The quilt just makes me smile!
I'll be back tonight with a Day 2 Quilt-A-Thon wrap-up.
Sweet P

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Shopping Goodies From the Quilt Show

I had a fun time at the quilt show. I'm still working through the photos trying to decide which ones to show. I know, I know, I should show them all, but I took about 30 photos and that's quite a bit of photos. Most of the quilts were art quilts. I like art quilts, but I was disappointed there wasn't more traditional quilts. It was fun meeting a couple more on-line quilters. We walked and talked and shopped! What more could you want for an afternoon?

I will share my shopping goodies tonight. First up are my quilt goodies. I purchased a brown and turquise/blue quilt kit and pattern from Sweet Treat. The kit contains enough fabric for a complete top. The patterns they sell are so easy you can make one in a day. I'm running low on blenders and I found 10 blenders for $20. There's one stitchery pattern for the 12 Days of Christmas. The pattern is written for tea towels, but I'm thinking of making a banner with the stitcheries. At a hand-dyed booth they were selling scrap bags for $2.50. I couldn't resist. The colors will make a neat addition to my postage stamp collection.

There was a booth from We Got The Buttons. This was the first time I've seen a booth at quilt show that didn't sell fabric, thread or sewing equipment. But she had button, buttons and even more buttons. And jewelry. And watches. Every item in the booth was gorgeous. I am in love with dichroic glass. I've purchased several pieces in the last few months. When I saw this watch I knew I had to have one to go with my other new jewelry. It looks great on me if I do say so myself. She makes the watches a little long and then fits them to the customer. The customer gets a gold chain for the extra link(s). For me it was one link. You might think the watch is heavy because it's glass. It's not. It's so light that I forgot I had it on. It is the lightest watch I've ever worn.

Judy at Patchwork Times is having a quilt-a-thon this weekend. I'm joining in for once. DH is going out of town this weekend for a bachelor party and I'm home alone. I need to work on my Valori Wells challenge, my bag swap, plus I want to make the brown and turquoise quilt. I'm hoping to get in some hand stitching time too. Sounds energetic for me. I should be able to tackle everything. My plan is to cut the kits for my projects tomorrow night then sew on Saturday and Sunday. It's going to be in the 70s this weekend so it won't too hot in my sewing room. Hooray!

Come on and join the fun! You know you want to do it! Just do it!

Happy Stitching!
Sweet P

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Sound Of Music

Nothing quilty to post this morning. But all this talk of musicals finally reminded me that I have the sound tracks for Sound of Music and South Pacific on my I-Tunes. So, this morning I'm listening to Do-Re-Mi while processing some statistics.

By the way, is there anything wrong with painting your toes for the first time by yourself at 11 pm? Last night I was watching TV waiting for DH to come home and had this urge to paint my toes. I've had pedicures, but never painted my toes on my own. So I did it. The color is called No, I'm Not A Waitress. Not bad for 11 at night, huh?

Tomorrow I'm going to the Lowell Quilt Festival with some new quilt friends. I'll be back on Friday with some inspiration and shopping goodies!
Sweet P

Sunday, August 03, 2008

My Favorite Things

The master bathroom is done! Read about it here.

The Sound of Music is floating around blogland today! Paula, The Quilter is singing So Long, Farewell and Nancy at Patchwork Penguin is singing My Favorite Things. The Sound of Music is the first film I remember seeing in the theater as a little girl. I remember Maria walking down the aisle with the nuns singing Maria. What little girl wouldn't dream of having a wedding like she did?

I love musicals and music. Taking Nancy's cue I thought I'd list my 10 favorite musicals and/or songs.
  1. My all-time favorite music is Jesus Christ Superstar. When I was teenager my girlfriends and I used to perform the opera to the records taking turns with the various roles. The album was the first music I put into my ITunes and on my Ipod. These days Comcast has the 1973 movie with Ted Neeley On Demand. I listen to it almost every day. I admit though I've never seen any other work by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. I couldn't pick a favorite song of the opera. I love them all.
  2. Of course, the Sound of Music is a favorite. My favorite song from the movie is Do-Re-Mi. It was one of the first songs I learned when taking piano lessons.
  3. South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstein will make me dream about being on a tropical island. I auditioned for the role of Bloody Mary in high school, but ended up playing in the orchestra instead. My favorite song from the movie is Bloody Mary. Those men dancing around the beach get me every time.
  4. The King and I is another Rodgers and Hammerstein musical I love. I played in the orchestra for our high school production of this as well. Shall We Dance is my favorite song from the movie. I always adored the hoop skirts the women wore and loved to watch them twirl in them.
  5. That's all the musicals I like. Now on to my favorite songs. I will stop everything to hear The Piano Man by Billy Joel. I still wish I could play the piano as well as he does. Have your ever heard his classical music CD? It's awesome.
  6. Another favorite Billy Joel is Scenes from an Italian Restaurant. Oh what the heck - Billy Joel is at the top of my favorite musician list.
  7. Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond will get me humming. If course, it doesn't help that at Fenway Park the song is played during the 7th inning stretch. I'm excited because Neil Diamond is performing at Fenway Park on August 23 and we have tickets to go! Be still my heart! We saw Neil Diamond just after 9/11 and it was a great show.
  8. Can You Feel The Love Tonight from Lion King by Elton John is a great song. I never saw the movie, but I love the music. I've seen Billy Joel and Elton John together in concert twice. They had great shows.
  9. I never thought I would take my two sons to a rock concert, but we took them to see The Who a few years ago. We had the best time. My favorite Who song is Baba O'Riley, sometimes referred to as Who Are You. It is the opening credit song for the CSI shows.
  10. And last, but not least, The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens. This song just makes my body groove every time I hear it.
Tell me 10 of your favorite things!
Sweet P

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Coffee Time Quilt Studio Has Art

After being in our new condo for five months we finally have some art on a wall. Of course, it's in the Coffee Time Quilt Studio. A few weeks ago when I was at Ikea I found a wooden frame set. It is advertised as a way to hang fabric. On my sewing day I pulled out this piece of coffee fabric and started attaching it to the frame. The nails Ikea included were crappy so I started using my staple gun. I ran out of staples and finally remembered this past week to get some more. This afternoon I finished the project and hung the art.
Here's a close-up view of the fabric. Isn't it perfect for Coffee Time? I can't remember who gave me this fabric or where I got it. I want to say Paula, The Quilter gave it to me last fall.
I got some mail goodies in the last two days. A friend and I swapped fabric. I sent her some FQs. Since I am starting to make postage stamp quilts she sent me her scraps that were too small for her, but the perfect size for postage stamps.
While cruising E-bay recently I found a listing for 120 strips of Aunt Martha repro fabrics. They range in size from 1 1/2 inch to 3 1/2 inches wide. I won them for less than $20 including shipping. Some of them will go into postage stamps quilt, some may end up as binding, some will be put away.
We got one coat of paint done in the kitchen last night. We will finish it tomorrow. I guess that means I have sewing time tonight. Hooray!
Sweet P

Friday, August 01, 2008

August First Is Here

Here it is the first of August. Summer is slowly drifting by. Here is the photo off my deck this morning. Not much different than the July photo. Perhaps in September I'll start to see the leaves turning. No, probably not. Maybe by October 1st.
Not much going on in the sewing room this week. I finished my siggie squares and sent them off. I have cut all the 3 1/2 inch strips from the Galoshes fabric into squares and now I can continue working on the 9-patches.

Last night I updated my Late Summer Challenges and Projects list. I have one deadline in the middle of the month - making something from Valori Wells Olive Rose fabric. I won a set of 8 FQs from the fabric line earlier this summer. Nancy is hosting the challenge. I have my project picked out now I just need to get started on it. The only other deadline I have is Linda's bag swap. I have my partner and I have an idea for the bag. Now I just need to get started.

I won't be much sewing over the weekend. We are painting our kitchen this weekend. It's going from a pale yellow to Kittery Point Green. It's the same green I painted my pantry.

Today I went into town to run some errands. I went into one of the antique/gift shops in town. I found a basket of FQs for $1 each. I couldn't resist - I'm so weak - I purchased six of them. The green and red on the left are the the same print. The green and blue on the bottom have polka dots. The red and white on top is a 30s repro. The last green one is simply pretty.
I hope everyone has a nice weekend. I'll be around, I hope!
Sweet P