Monday, April 30, 2012

Last Lasts

The past week has passed in a whirr of packing, address changes, and last-minute details. 

Neither of us has good short-term memory.

Where's my cigar box? Did you check your prescription refills? Have you cancelled phone service? What are you planning to do with those books? We need another mirror box. Where's the box of miscellaneous stuff? Do we want to keep this (fill in the blank)? Have you changed our address with (fill in the blank)? 

It goes on and on.

My sewing room was out of commission last Thursday. Everything sew-y and craft-y I own filled two dish barrel size boxes; 19 full-sized bins; 6 half-tall bins; and 8 medium-sized clip-lid bins. Along with two fold-up tables, two hollow core doors, two sawhorses, and five sewing machines, there was more stuff than I thought. Oops! And there are three dish barrel size boxes full of quilts! Though I don't expect to use the quilts in Florida, there are unknowns about teaching, and whether Stitchin' Mission will continue as it has. For now, I'm keeping those quilts.

Last week we hired a college age fella to carry all the bins and boxes from the basement and house to the garage. The pile is missing the last of the kitchen stuff; several picture frame boxes; a bed; wooden rocking chair, floor quilt rack, and wine rack. (Everything else has been sold.) We're pretty sure it will fit into the 17-foot U-Haul truck we'll be loading Wednesday.

In between bouts of feverish activity, sorting and packing, and donating even more stuff to Goodwill, I've had my last, last good-byes. Thursday evening Batting Buds took me to dinner at an Italian restaurant.
Chianti raised in toast
Dinner conversation was about how we met one another, memories of activities together, quilting retreats, numerous Stitchin' Missions and how life will be so different. Dinner ended with that pink squirrel, just for me! It's creme de Noyaux, creme do cacao, and light cream for those of you, like me, who didn't know what constitutes a pink squirrel.
L-R: Bug, Norma, me, Lola, Susan
These gals, and several others who couldn't make it to dinner (Mary, Erika, Kim, Michelle - You were missed!) gave me fat quarters. Knowing how much I like modern prints, each one gave me a print that represent themselves. They've challenged me to make a quilt - once I get settled in Florida - with all these prints. 

Saturday, these same buds hosted a reception for Stitchin' Mission, the quiltmaking ministry I've offered in the Des Moines area for the past seven years. The reception was at church, and this is what I first saw when I arrived.

The room was decorated with some recently-made mission quilts. 

And look! More cake! I will very likely be heading to Florida carrying a few extra pounds of junk, and it won't be in the back of the U-Haul truck!

Here are the lovely, wonderful, smiling friends I was blessed to first get to know through Stitchin' Mission.
L-R: Ann, Andrea, Michelle
me and Lola
L-R: Norma, Kim, me, Rachel, Bug, Andrea 
Sara and Suzanne
me and Abigail
Again, it's pretty much impossible to sufficiently express my thanks to these special, thoughtful and giving friends. Each of them have blessed me with their support and friendship these past seven years. I've already shed a few tears at partings, but I'm sure the waterworks will flood on Thursday as I'm driving south on I-35 toward Kansas City. That's where we'll unload and stay with our daughter for a couple weeks.

As for these fat quarters... They're quite a unique collection, aren't they? Initially I was stumped as to how I might use them in one quilt. But then...

... I received this card from Erika. Doors. All of them different. Are you tracking? "When God closes a door, He opens a window." Each fabric a door, unique to the friend who lives behind it. A window. Some embroidery. Some creativity. I'm itching to get started.

Doors will wait for a few more last last things that need taken care of. God-willing, a truck to be loaded, and house closing papers to be signed Thursday. Later in May, after quilt market and the Machine Quilter's Showcase, we'll head to The Villages to begin hunting for a new home... and opening all kinds of new doors into the future. Linda

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Taking Bumps in Stride

Everything has been going smoothly toward the closing of our house. Inspections are done, appraisal and searches are finished. We're on the home stretch. Nine more days until we close, load, and head on down the road. We were feeling so confident about the way things have been going that we took off last Friday morning for a weekend in Kansas City with our daughter Jill, and family. We celebrated her 36th birthday, spent time with the grandies and generally had a relaxing visit.
Celina has recently taken up archery, and she's a natural!

If it was Thanksgiving, and she had a stomach for it, we would have had a fine bird.
Dan and Hogan
Related to the move, we were thinking ourselves on easy street. Then Jill reminded us of her experience moving from Sydney, Australia to the US. How they sold their furniture, sold most of their belongings, sold their car, and still, as little as they had to pack, found themselves scrambling during the last week to pull it all together. My! Didn't we sit up and take notice!

We have begun packing the kitchen into boxes. Our closet is pretty much empty.

Monday afternoon we hit our first bump in the road, so to speak. I took 8-1/2 year-old Hogan to Ames, Iowa, to the small animal hospital in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University. Hogan is blind in his left eye (perhaps shot with a bb gun before he was rescued), so fairly regularly his ocular pressures need to be checked. We learned that a recent change in the appearance of his blind eye is from glaucoma, and that pressure was 73. Normal is between 12 and 15. It's very likely that he's been in pain, and at the very least has had headaches. Poor guy.

We've bought all the drugs to reduce the pressure - eye drops and pain meds - and will be administering those, but the doctor's recommendation is to have Hogan's eye removed. With the timing and logistics of our move, surgery isn't an immediate option. But living in The Villages, we'll be near the University of Florida in Gainesville, where we'll be looking up an opthalmology veterinarian.

The sad part of leaving one's home of 22-1/2 years is what's been happening the past two weeks. Days have been marked by "lasts."

On Wednesday I'll be parting with my 2000 Volkswagen Beetle. It's been a great little car, and it holds many wonderful memories. How do I remember? In the glove box, I kept this guest book that every new passenger signed, dated, and sometimes commented in.

Since April 21, 2000, I've had 85 passengers! When I was co-chair of programs for the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild, I shuttled our speakers to and from the airport, motel and restaurants. I have siggies from celebrity quilters:

Harriet Hargrave - Ruth B. McDowell - Irma Gail Hatcher - Terry Ann Waldron

Also Helen Kelley (columnist for Quilters Newsletter Magazine) who has since passed away.

My most cherished signature is that of my Mother who was my second passenger. She passed away in 2002.

Today was the last time I hand-washed my Bug. It's never been through a car wash. Pride of ownership? You bet! It has also been vacuumed for the last time, and the license plates - 4GRDU8N (for graduatin') - have been taken off. It's ready to be picked up Wednesday morning by its new owner. Bye bye little silver Bug.

I've also attended:

* my last Hope Quilters meeting. Cake was served, and quilters were asked to share a memory.

* my last church rehearsal with Adoration Choir, and a farewell social time afterward.

Two of my eight alto friends: Carla and Karel
* and my last Modern Quilt Guild meeting with the Des Moines Chapter. I was the program speaker, sharing my experiences and knowledge about free motion quilting.

While I was changing a sewing machine foot and re-threading the machine, they ate cake! 
Check out the palm trees and flip-flops. Too perfect.
Yet to come is the last evening I spend with my closest friends, the Batting Buds. A box of tissues please.

Then, on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m., those same friends are hosting a Stitchin' Mission farewell open house at our church. Since Stitchin' Mission is going with me to Florida - SM is really God's that I'm tending - my extremely thoughtful friends have planned this occasion to gather some of the quilters I've met during the past seven years of this program. More than 120 email invitations were sent. It will surely be wonderful.

Considerate friends are making it difficult to leave.

And here, I thought I would just quietly walk away.


P.S. If you're noticing that word verification is turned on again, it's 'cause I started to get spam comments. Sorry friends.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Unexpected Treasures

With everything that's associated with a move, it's a wonder I have time for anything fun. But plans I'd made before our house sold, worked out. And so it was that last Thursday/Friday I went to Council Bluffs, Iowa, to visit my friend Deb

She's a long-time Internet friend. We first "met" through the online quilting forum Koffee Klatch. That was back in 1995, when communicating with someone you didn't even know was a remarkable, novel thing to do! Deb and I found mutual interests: quilting; two kids each; and we both worked for universities. For a half dozen years, we emailed one another almost daily! 

When we're together, a visit to a quilt shop is obligatory. Here we are at Quilt Studio in Omaha. I love this shop for its wonderful selection of modern prints, its great assortment of solid fabrics including Kona for only $5 a yard, and a very sweet, young lady behind the counter. When she tells you, "You look young," of course you shop for a while and make a big purchase!

My buys included aqua and chartreuse prints (upper right) that look like linen but are 100 percent cotton "Fun" by Timeless Treasures. The spoon and fork print, and the pear print are "Metro Cafe" and "Metro Market," respectively, by Kaufman.

Deb sent me home with a couple books she no longer wants. After all my ruthless book-purging, I'm collecting again - could this be the start of another downfall!?

The book "Create Your Perfect Quilting Space," will definitely be used. When we buy a house, one of the guest bedrooms will be my sewing room. Yay for finally getting a sewing room on the main floor! But with much less square footage to call my own, I am sure I'll need to implement creative ideas for utilizing space.
One of Deb's neighbors, Gail, is a doll maker. I was treated with a guided introduction to the dozens of remarkable dolls, fairies, and other creations Gail expertly makes. After all my oohing and aahing, she must have heard enough because she sent me on my way with this little blue-winged fairy. You can see how petite she is in my hand. It's amazing to me that anyone can sew something that small. Kind of homely, in a cute sort of way, isn't she?

As if that isn't enough, an unexpected parcel arrived from Australia. This beautiful silk scarf from Jerusalem was inside, sent by my dear friend Di who is recently returned from her third trip to the Holy Land. I'm touched that she was thinking of me during her travels. Does anyone besides me see inspiration for a quilt? Sort of Kandinsky style?

Saturday was my last sewing day with Hope Quilters. The group is taking on the big task of making 115 altar cloths for 115 churches in Ghana. During Lent, Lutheran Church of Hope raised enough money to build 115 churches in Ghana at a cost of $4,200 for each church. That includes chairs, Bibles and housing for a pastor! While the churches are being built, Hope Quilters will be sewing a lot of altar cloths!

Since I won't be around to help, nor will I have access to a sewing machine for about six weeks while we house-hunt, I've decided to embroider some liturgical designs. I found them online and will stitch them to be sewn into some of the altar cloths. My embroidery kit is ready to go.

What little sewing I'm managing is just that... little. This is a block I will enter in The Modern Quilt Guild's Quiltcon block challenge. Submissions need to be sent by August 15 to either be used in a raffle quilt or made into quilts for a children's care center in Austin, Texas. In February, 2013, The Modern Quilt Guild will have its first convention in Austin.
12-1/2" X 12-1/2" Quiltcon block
Speaking of The Modern Quilt Guild... anyone living in the area is invited to attend our Thursday evening, April 19, Des Moines MQG meeting. It starts at 6:30 p.m. I'm giving the program on free-motion quilting: tools, tips, and designs. I'd love to see you there! Linda

Saturday, April 14, 2012

It was a great Good Friday

For more than a week I've been nearly bursting to share our news!

The sold sign went up a week ago. Boy, has life quickly change around here! 

It was the afternoon of Good Friday, April 6, that two couples made second visits to see our house. Both were very interested. Within a couple hours we had an offer, good enough that we accepted that evening. 

The past week has been full of activities - inspections and an appraisal, among other things. Somewhat surprisingly, given stories we've heard about home inspections, we practically sailed through it! Only two kitchen outlets, near the sink, need to be switched to ground fault interruptors, a code change since the house was built in 1984. 

All our furniture has been pre-sold - divine intervention there, most certainly! And my 12 year-old Volkswagen Beetle (my beloved, surprise college graduation gift) has also been sold. Boo hoo. It will be extremely difficult to part with. 
April 2000 photo
Some of the furniture is being picked up this weekend!

If all continues smoothly, as expected, we will close on this house Thursday, May 3! Yes, very soon! The buyers, who have sold their home, close that day and, understandably, want possession the same day. We're happy we can be accommodating. Most of our few remaining possessions have been packed for many weeks. 

Because we have so few belongings, our plan is to rent a small truck to move from West Des Moines to our daughter's house in Kansas City where she will store our things in her garage until we know where, exactly, we will live in The Villages, Florida. We'll stay with our daughter for a couple weeks so I can spend time with grandchildren and attend the Machine Quilter's Showcase (MQS) in Overland Park, Kansas (two of my quilts on display). Yay for getting to meet some of my blog pals who will be at the Kansas City spring quilt market, and at MQS! 

In late May, hubby and I, and the dog, will begin a month-long house rental in The Villages while we consider all our home-buying options: pre-owned, new construction, and custom-built. 

Once we know where we'll live, hubby will rent another truck to move our possessions from Kansas City to The Villages. 
And there we are.

I am clearly seeing God's hand throughout everything that happened Holy Week - a significant double message I think -  and this past week. None of this would be falling so smoothly into place without His hand orchestrating it. 

Praising Him, and excitedly making plans for the future, Linda

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Finery and New Friends

Did you have a lovely Easter? Weatherwise, here it was clear and sunny, and although a bit cool, very pretty. Right after the sunrise service which began at 6:45 a.m., I posed wearing my new Easter outfit,

I've used this Route 66 skirt pattern from Marie-Madeline Studios about six times. Can you guess it's a favorite? Skirt fabric is Rendezvous, by Anthology. The aqua, sweater top was a bargain purchase for $7 but the white knit shrug made up for it at $40. The necklace and earrings were 40 percent off, and for the shoes, I used a birthday discount. Once in a while, it just feels nice to get an entirely new outfit. Anyway, I'm sure I'll wear many times.

After church we drove to Kansas City to visit our daughter and family for a couple days. It was a shorter-than-usual visit, but we packed a lot into it. 

Some of the fun was meeting up with Carla, and having our grandchildren meet for a play date! Tay was especially excited to meet almost four year-old Lula. You see, Lula is a celebrity! If you haven't yet watch this Youtube video, you simply must!
Co-Stars: Lula and her Daddy

It's wildly popular at our grandsons' house. They've watch it only about a ga-jillion times!

The boys and Lula played together in the basement. Some of the fun was Tay and Lula listening to plumbing pipes while a shower was running upstairs.
Tay and Lula
It's always nice to horseback ride with a new friend.
Aesa and Lula
Carla led Tay and Lula in some exercise. I'm glad she's never insisted I do that!

Although our KC visit was brief, the six hours spent in the car never changes. During car-riding time, I completed letter "Q" of the Snowmen A to Zzzz pattern. Only five blocks remain to be stitched! Yay for progress, however slow it is!

Oh! And for those of you who commented on my previous post about pre-washing Essex linen, thank you! You'll be very interested to know that I did pre-wash it, and it shrunk considerably! From three yards to two yards 32 inches. More than an inch per yard! I'm glad I decided to wash it  before using it in a quilt. Linda


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