Monday, July 30, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Slow Down... I Move Too Fast

I guess that moving to a place where there's a slow-down in the pace of life means that my expectations and pace need to slow down too. It's a challenging adjustment when I'm the sort that likes to do and get done. Mostly, I'm anxious to have my environment organized and put together, so I can turn my time and energies into playing hard - quilting, socializing and trying new activities.

7'10" X 10' 10" Rizzy Rug, Galleria
Instead, this past week has found me on the computer, spending countless hours searching for rugs for the living room and conversation corner. (The rug in my last blog post was nixed by my personal decorator, our daughter, who thought I had too many different prints going on.) When on Monday I finally found a rug design in the two sizes we need, I gave a mental "hoorah" and placed my order... only to find out the living room rug is back ordered and won't be in until September! Please tell me this will be worth the wait!

Living room lamps in the shape of palm fronds have been ordered online. Waiting.

The few things that have arrived do make me very happy.

A rug for under the eating area table.

A colorful design with movement that gives the space a nice pop.

My Gidget II table acrylic insert for my Bernina Aurora 440. I didn't expect it would be clear, having previously had one made of the same material as the table. This isn't as slick as laminate either.

How cute is my new Arrow chair? I saw it, on sale, when I went to the local vac and sewing store to pick up the Gidget insert. What's nice about shopping locally (besides supporting the local economy) is that I could try it out. It is really comfortable! The back rest gives support at just the right place.

A bonus is the storage space. I'm always thinking about storage these days. For spools of thread, I think. Or UFOs. Or notions.

Would it be terrible of me to paint and recover that brand new chair? Here's the fabric I'd use, and a paint chip of Martha Stewart's "lagoon." I do love it.

The rest of the sewing room isn't seeing any changes. Today I learned that the sewing room closet waiting to be customized won't be done until August 9. Sheesh. There's that slow thing again.

Speaking of painting, I'm still opening that can of Behr Candlelight Ivory every day! I've used 3/4 of a gallon to brush-paint seven pieces and I'm not quite done yet. A couple finishes are this quilt rack that looks pretty good with some brightly-colored quilts.

And this "plant stand" that I've always used for incidentals and books.

The other pieces are done except for the rocking chair. It's taking longer (slow going) to paint what with all the turned wood and rungs. I say this every day, but, "I think I'll be finished painting tomorrow."

The little bit of sewing that I've done is to make these Great Granny blocks for Lori's Great Granny Along. You can see the blocks and quilt tops everyone is making on this Flickr page.
12-1/2" unfinished Great Granny Blocks
As for life in The Villages... the weekly groups I've joined are stitching and beginner line dancing. We go to the square several nights a week for live music and dancing. Not that we dance much (discussion underway about possible shag dancing lessons), but it's a great way to meet people. I have not joined a local quilting chapter/guild, though the few quilters I've met are super friendly. I'd like to start a modern quilting group, but wonder how to go about it. I'm taking it slow... because there isn't any other way to do it. Linda

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Room(s) Design

We're thrilled that our new furniture finally arrived.

It's still pretty bare though, isn't it? That little TV will eventually go into my sewing room and a larger, 46" one will go in that spot. We need lamps too!

A 9' X 12' area rug is a priority, for defining the space and making the room comfortable. The sofa and love seat are a pin-stripe beige and light brown with light brown piped edges.

We're very happy with the all the furniture, especially the tropical print chair, but the pattern in it is making finding a rug more challenging. Note that the area behind the chair is meant to be the dining room, but we'll make it into a conversation corner... one that also needs a couple chairs, bookcase, and another area rug. Help!

The only rug we've come across that might be a possibility for the living area is this one. The colors are right, but the design might be more contemporary than tropical. No surprise. It looks like a quilt design!

I've just about had my fill of shopping, and more shopping, trying to make the right choices!

However, my new pressing table is definitely a right choice. I meant it to be easy to move and put away, and it is. That's for the rare occasion that we have so many house guests that this second bedroom is needed for sleeping.

To make the pressing table I started with these two Ikea "Vika Artur" trestle legs for $30 each. They look like sawhorses and are meant to be used for a drafting table. The feature I like is that the top of each trestle can be raised or lowered to one of several heights. Just move the peg into the hole for the height desired.

For the pressing table top, I went to The Villages Woodshop to ask if one of the 700 members of The Villages Woodworker's Club would be able to cut a board to size for me. Since the trestle leg is 28" across, I asked for a board cut 30" X 48".

Within two hours I had a table top cut from oak particle board, for $21! 

The woodworker even rounded the corners and curved the edges! You can't get that from a box store!

With another $36 worth of supplies from Joann's - heat-resistant fabric (that silver stuff); white duck cloth; pre-packaged extra-wide, double-fold binding; and 1/2"-wide elastic, I made two removable covers for the board. Please excuse the messy sewing room. It's a work in progress.

The silver heat resistant fabric went down first, topped by duck cloth.

And there you have it! The pressing table looks and functions just as I hoped.

Ah. One more step toward making this a workable room. Now it's time to do a little sewing. Linda

Monday, July 16, 2012

Good, Bad, and Fun!

When a friend emails to say that she's noticed a "slow down" in my blog posts and she hopes "all is well" - it is! - I'm overdue for a post. What with trying to get the house put together, attending a few newcomer get-togethers, and meeting neighbors, the days just fill up.

Good News
On the home front... some of our living room furniture is being delivered Tuesday! We ordered it May 25. On July 17 we'll receive our sofa, love seat, a chair and two end tables. We're still missing pieces in the living room and bedroom, but at least we can put away those bag chairs! Now I can shop for area rugs and lamps.

Not much progress in the sewing room. After deciding on half a dozen ideas, and then tossing them out, I've finally settled on having the closet "done." For $313, it will be customized with two sections of 14-inch deep, 23-inch wide shelves, and two more rows of shelves across the top. Reason asserted itself before I purchased shelves for the rest of the room. After the July 29 closet installation, I'll put things away - folded fabrics in the closet? - and then decide what's needed in the way of additional storage.

Martha Stewart fabric bins/drawers in the color "lagoon" are a must. They'll be for scraps organized by color, and look pretty on white shelves or in cubbies.
Today I picked up my new Gidget II sewing table. The insert for this Bernina hasn't arrived yet.

Bad News
T-Mobile cell phone coverage here is horrible - no reception marks, or one mark at best. My cell phone is my primary phone. Calls I accept in our house usually cut-out and drop off. Because of the poor reception, I asked T-Mobile to release me from my contract, which doesn't expire until May, 2013. After waiting two weeks, I phoned them to learn that my request was denied. If I choose to break my contract, it will cost $200. Steamin' mad about all this. There won't be an I-Phone in my hands for months!

Fun News
All the oak and walnut furniture pieces we brought with us are turning white!
sofa table, floor quilt rack, wall-mounted quilt rack
five-drawer chest purchased at an estate sale
All tolled I have seven pieces I'm painting white, and it's taking most of my time - at least four to five hours a day. I can't really say it's "fun," but in the end, it will be worth the time. Thanks to advice from Ron at Home Depot, I'm gettin' the job done. If you ever want to paint furniture, here's what's worked for me.

Instead of starting by sanding the wood surfaces, buy a bottle of this. Use a small rag and a circular motion to apply this clear liquid to all the surfaces. Let it dry for an hour.

Then paint. My favorite paint brand is Behr. I chose the color "Candlelight Ivory" in a satin sheen. The gallon I bought has primer in it. Ron said to invest in a good brush and he picked this one for me. It's working beautifully and clean-up is easy with water and a little Dawn dishwashing liquid. Ron suggests that after cleaning the brush, while it's still damp, store it in its packaging.

So I've been painting...

...and painting...

...and painting.

I'm aiming for a Thursday finish.

More Fun
It's good to be quilting on a Bernina again, but after attempting to use the BSR, I've returned to free motion quilting without the regulator. I need to take some time to figure out how to use it. In the meantime, I'm anxious to finish quilting this Circle of Geese foundation paper-pieced quilt

The Great Granny Along hosted by Bee in My Bonnet has captured my attention. Blocks are scrappily easy. Just the sort of piecing I like. Sewing is at your own pace, so it's not too late to join in!
12-1/2" unfinished Great Granny block
In between these things I've been bike-riding, and gone places in the golf cart! We listened/danced to music outdoors in the square, attended a couple socials for newcomers to The Villages, and I took my first line dancing lesson! Life is good and fun! Linda

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sewing Again!

Oh my! Doesn't it feel good to be at a sewing machine again!? And what a great new machine I have too! I haven't begun to peruse all the features or try the BSR. It just feels good to be in front of a familiar Bernina.

No matter which Bernina model I sew at, it's nice to instinctively know how to use it, especially since I won't get the eight hours of free instruction most people receive when they buy a new sewing machine.

Did you notice those 4-1/2" blocks? To use up scraps, my ongoing leaders and enders project is to sew 1-1/2" squares together to make 16-patch blocks.

This sewing was accomplished in a matter of a few hours. After digging out cutting supplies and sorting through the wire rack of fabrics, I got caught up on the past three months of the Bloggers' BOM.
Month 8, April 2012
Month 9, May 2012
Month 10, June 2012
As you can see, I'm making two blocks each month, so I'll have a more substantial-sized quilt. I'm already toying with the idea of putting the blocks on point and joining them in an unorthodox - improv? wonky? modern! - way. The finished quilt will still be named "Strawberry Fizz and Lime Pop." 

As some of you know, we had a bit of an "issue" here after buying a platform sleigh bed with a mattress and box springs. The bed was SO 39" high! Since the furniture store won't take back box springs, it has been exchanged for a "low profile" version... one that's a whole three inches lower. If I had my druthers, I wouldn't have a box springs at all, but doesn't my "Dashing the Churn" quilt look smashing on the bed!? Oh, and my selvage pillow too.

I know, I know. I need to make some pillow shams. They're on my list of home dec items to sew.

First up though was to make a cover for the dark brown, faux leather storage bench in the sewing room - a Craigslist find. It's storing almost all my batting.

I found this cheery fabric at JoAnn's, a half price home dec piece called "Paisley Prism" by Waverly. I cut up an old mattress pad to use as lining. Along with cording and Kona solid chartreuse to cover the cording, it cost only $25 to make, with plenty of fabric left over for something else too. A pillow maybe.

Looks like it passes the Hogan test. 

It's good to be sewing again. Now I'm off to do some real quilting... giving that BSR a test run.  Linda

Monday, July 2, 2012

Settled in a Week and Sewing Again

All the boxes are unpacked. Our curbside recycling was picked up this morning.

As much as possible, everything is put away. Until we get the furniture we ordered several weeks ago, we're living very simply. How glad we are to have those bag chairs given to us by our sales agent! The little TV was purchased for my sewing room and will be replaced with a 46" HGTV when we get a new TV console. The console beneath the TV is the one we ordered, but it arrived damaged.

In the "dining room" which we're opting to utilize as a "conversation corner," a box of books awaits a bookcase. Still need to shop for a couple chairs, a lamp and rug. It seems the shopping never ends! The table (and four chairs) will go to our son on our next trip to Tampa.

I'm learning that it's going to take quite a while to turn the front bedroom into a sewing room. When you're starting with nothing it's quite a process.

I spent hours last week taking each piece of fabric out of white garbage bags and folding the larger pieces to fit temporary wire racks standing against the wall. It would have been nice to have had friends to help me with the task - not for getting the job done sooner, but for the companionship. Instead, I listened to the audiobook "The Choice" by Nicholas Sparks.

I finished the folding job Friday. These are all the fabrics I own except for batiks, repros, French (Provence) and Swiss fabrics, and Christmas prints which are in another storage container. I culled as I folded and came up with four plastic bags of unloveable prints/colors that I'll donate to the local quilt guild for charity quilts.

Though I'm not proud of how this room looks, at least I was finally able to get my brand new Bernina Aurora 440 out of the box! (Here's how I won my Bernina.)

I've been shopping for cabinets and behind-doors shelving that will fill the entire wall where the wire fabric shelves are now. You can see the blue painter's tape on the wall where I marked the height and depth of one of the cabinet options. I've narrowed the possibilities to three. 
  1. The least expensive: "SystemBuild" available through Wal-Mart (online only). There's a room-designing feature so you can see exactly how your cabinetry is going to fit into your space. The nice part is that shipping is free to a Wal-Mart store.
  2. Moderately expensive: Ikea "Liatorp" bookcases with glass and glass/panel doors.
  3. Most expensive: custom cabinetry. Custom cabinetry sure doesn't fit into my $2,000 self-imposed sewing room budget, but it's worth considering for the house's added value. Not that we plan to sell any time soon! Extra storage space is a feature our kids will no doubt appreciate when they inherit this house someday.
Here's the Wal-Mart SystemBuild layout I created. As much as I'd like to fill the wall with tall cabinets, I need a shorter cabinet for my small TV. 

The closet isn't pretty either, but for the time being I won't do anything with it. This space might not be needed for quilting supplies once wall cabinetry is in place. 

Happily, I've found a local store that sells Gidget II sewing machine tables. Until mine comes in I'll be sewing like this. I've begun catch-up on making Bloggers' BOM. The room certainly isn't organized, but it's bright, and I can watch the action - golf carts going by - on the quiet street in front of our house.

Speaking of golf carts... ours came in last Friday. We're really pleased with the colors we chose. Check out the cooler attached to the side, and that's a mesh grocery shopping bag in the back.

A golf cart ride can be somewhat jouncy, but it hasn't prevented Dan and Hogan from taking it to pick up mail each day. Dan is almost recovered from hurting his back during our move.

Tuesday morning I'm toodling off in the golf cart to visit another quilting chapter in The Villages; Tuesday evening I'll attend the monthly Quilting Guild of The Villages. All this is aimed toward making new friends and settling into a routine - one that must include lots of sewing! Linda


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