Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Finally Some Sewing...

After almost a 3 month hiatus, I finally pulled my sewing machine out of storage, dusted her off and sewed something!  My quilt bee does a HST (half-square triangle) swap the first Wednesday of every month.  Before I packed up my machines, I made enough of them to swap for May, June and July figuring that surely the renovation would be done before August.  Oh well.  We can see that didn't happen.  All my fabric is also packed into boxes (that I can't get to right now), so I had to go to the quilt store to buy enough fat quarters to make these.

It felt good to sew something after such a long break.  In fact, it's actually just a warm up.  I also get to spend this weekend sewing with my mom.  So maybe I'll start sharing something besides renovations pictures again!

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 
Romans 12:12 (NLT)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Renovation Step #4 - Flooring and Bookcases...

After watching numerous home improvement shows and reading anecdotes by both men and women, I naively assumed I'd be able to install the laminate flooring myself or at least with minimal help from my husband.  I'm reasonably intelligent and in fairly good shape, so how hard could it be?  Hmm.  Famous last words.  The day before I was set to begin, I threw my back out.  Fortunately, my husband (who coincidentally was against me installing the floor myself anyway) had the day off and insisted on working on it instead.  The first step was to put down the underlayment.

When he started to lay out the flooring, he realized right away that we had a problem.  The laminate planks are about 7.5" wide and his saw wasn't large enough to make the cuts we needed.  So off he went to Lowe's to get a new Sliding Compound Miter Saw.  I insisted on trying it out, as I really want to learn how to do all of these things myself.  Although I can use it, it's definitely not one of my favorites.

He managed to get half of the floor laid the first day and almost finished it up the next.  My back was feeling much better the second day, so I helped to lay out the planks in advance for him to install.  It wasn't hard, but you had to pay attention to the patterns to make sure the boards were spread out evenly.  I also tried to install a few planks myself.  I can honestly say that even if I wasn't having back problems, this is not a job I would be able to do on my own.  My neck isn't the greatest and just from trying to pound in those few planks, it was obvious that I would never be able to do an entire room.  So I'm very grateful to have a super handy husband to step in and save the day!  I think he did a wonderful job on it and I just love the new floor...

The flooring is actually Pergo Presto Gunstock Oak from Home Depot and the underlayment is Roberts 70-190 Super Felt Premium Felt Underlayment.

The room looks so barren here, but I also ordered some bookcases that came in.  I had some help in putting them together.  David and Jack (not pictured) were fascinated by the tape on the boxes.

I bought 3 of the the Threshold Carson bookcases in different sizes all from and I have to mention that the assembly instructions were some of the best I've ever seen.  Also, one of the pieces was chipped and I called them on a Sunday afternoon and immediately reached a customer service representative who was extremely polite and sent me out a replacement.  I would definitely purchase from them again.

I'm hoping these will hold everything I need for them to.  I'm considering getting a couple of smaller ones to hold bolts of fabric, but haven't decided yet.

Don't they look so clean and fresh with nothing on them?  I'm imagining how pretty they'll look with fabric!

Next up is baseboard trim and the window seat (already done).  Also, my counter tops are supposed to come in on Monday.  We still need to re-do the stairs and my husband has the plans for my new sewing and cutting tables.  I'm not sure how long it will take him to build them though.

It's getting closer day by day!

God's voice is glorious in the thunder. We can't even imagine the greatness of His power. 
Job 37:5 (NLT)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Renovation Giveaway #3 - All About Books... (Winner Announced)

Sorry for the delay on this.  I really meant to post about it several days ago, but the renovation seems to be eating up most of my time.  By the time evening rolls around, I pretty much want to do nothing more than crawl into bed!  In any case, I have a bunch of quilting books I'd like to give away to anyone who's interested.  There are too many to list in one post, so I think I'll split it up into several different giveaways.  In this first grouping are the following 6 books:

Log Cabin Quilts by Rita Weiss & Linda Causee
More Elm Creek Quilts by Jennifer Chiaverini
Quiltmaker's Fancy - 16 Traditional Quilts for All Skill Levels
New Cuts for New Quilts by Karla Alexander
Fabulous Fat-Quarter Quilts by Better Homes and Gardens
Wheel of Mystery Quilts by Helen Marshall
All 6 books will go to one person.  If you're interested in them, leave me a comment below letting me know one sewing/quilting thing you're either hoping to learn how to do or improve on in the future.  I've really been trying to work on improving my free motion quilting skills this year and once I finally get back to sewing, I'd like to continue working on it.  (Sorry, but this giveaway is open to US addresses only.)

I hope, unlike me, you're enjoying some fun in the sun wherever you are.  We actually got a break in the heat and humidity today which made it a great day to paint some baseboard and trim outside.  So much for the lazy days of summer!

7/31/13 - Congratulations Kevin the Quilter!  Be on the lookout for an email from me.  For everyone else, I'll be giving away more books in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Renovation Step #3 - Cabinets (Yippee!)

There have been a number of steps to this renovation already, including packing everything up (which took forever!), painting and pulling up the old flooring.  All of these were necessary and it was kind of nice to see the paint go up, but they didn't really give me an idea of what the room is going to look like.

Installing the cabinets was different.  Now I'm starting to see how the room is going to look and function.  Initially I purchased these unfinished cabinets from Home Depot that I was going to paint white.  Buying them unfinished saved some money as long as I was willing to put in some time and effort.

However, I didn't plan on getting sick for almost 2 months either.  By the time I had recovered enough to work on them, the renovation was already so far behind and summer had arrived with it's heat and high humidity (plus it's been raining pretty much every day for a month!)  Conditions just weren't favorable for painting outside anymore.  So to recoup some of the lost time, I returned those cabinets and purchased finished ones.

Originally I was only going to put cabinets on the left side of the window and bookcases on the right, but after more thought, you can see I decided on yet more cabinets.

And the scope of this project keeps changing, because just yesterday I decided that a window seat would be perfect there as well.  (Actually my husband suggested it a while ago.  It just took me some time to see how right he is!)  There's a great tutorial over at the DIY Network on how to build a window seat using wall cabinets, so I guess we're going to have to purchase yet another cabinet!

I've already ordered the counter tops, but thy won't be in for another couple of weeks.  I also installed pull out drawers in some of the cabinets to make them more functional.  I have these in all my kitchen cabinets and just love them!

The rest of the cabinets just have shelves...

My mind is already busy trying to figure out how I'm going to organize everything!  And as you can glimpse above, we've already got the floor installed, but I'll share more about that next time.  I think this weekend we're going to work on replacing the steps and on the new window seat.  We also need to pick up the baseboard molding.  And I'm finalizing plans for my sewing and cutting tables.  Busy, busy busy!

Don't sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. 
Psalm 4:4-5 (NLT)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Beautiful Lilies...

Note: If you'd like to enter to win the charm squares, go here.

Those of us in the eastern states have been getting an insane amount of rain recently.  In fact, today is the first day in about a month that it hasn't rained.  We're a bit waterlogged and the ground is pretty squishy, but my Asiatic Lily has been drinking it up and just thriving!  It's never had as many blooms or been as vivid. As soon as you walk out onto the deck, you can smell it's heavenly fragrance...

My Asiatic Lily
True story.  I bought this plant at a home improvement store about 4 years ago.  It had a couple of blooms and I just loved the smell of them.  I put it in the back seat and ran a few more errands before heading home.  After each stop, I would open the door, lean down and smell the flowers before going to my next errand.  When I got home, my husband asked me what was all over my face.  Apparently, the yellow/orange pollen from the flowers had smeared all over the lower half of my face.  It was awful!  I looked like a drunken clown.  And not one person in all the places I went to pointed it out to me.  It was also surprisingly hard to scrub off.  Funny enough, when I came out of the bathroom, I found my husband had been sniffing the flowers as well.  Know how I know?  He had pollen all over his chin too.  It was some potent stuff.

My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me 
Psalm 62:7 (NLT)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Renovation Giveaway #2 - Very Charming... (Winner Announced)

If you've followed along with me for a while, you know I have a thing for charm squares.  Carrie Nelson has come out with a multitude of Schnibbles patterns (which use 2 Charm Packs) and Me & My Sisters Designs have written 3 Times the Charm! and 3 Times the Charm, Book 2 (which use a single Charm Pack).   And over the years I've 'collected' both Charm Packs and individual charm squares and I have a large number of each.  In fact, here's my collection of current collection of individual 5" charms...

I haven't counted them, but I'm guessing there must be well over 1000 here.  Unfortunately, although I'm collecting them, I'm not using them, so hard as it is, I'm letting them go to a new home.

Yellows, Reds and Oranges
Batiks, Whites, Neutrals, Blacks, Purples, Greens and Blues
To give you an idea of scale, each bin is 13" long.  Just to be clear though, I'm giving away the fabric, not the bins!

This is going to be a fairly heavy box to ship, so this giveaway is open to US addresses only.  If you're interested in this fabric, leave me a comment below telling me something interesting about yourself.  Just to share a little bit more about me, I studied Japanese in college (can't remember a lick of it), I loved listening to Depeche Mode in my teenage years and I used to have a navel ring until it was partially ripped out carrying a laundry basket.  And yes, it was as painful as it sounds!

I'm not sure how long I'll leave this open, probably handful of days or so.  In any case, good luck!

7/18/13 - Congratulations Sue Bullock!  I'm trying to contact you for your information.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Renovation Step #2- Goodbye Carpet, Hello TV...

You know how they say that your mattress doubles in weight after 10 years? I wonder if the same if true for carpets.  The carpets in my sewing room were almost 13 years old, so they had some age to them, and removing them was the next step in the renovation.

To recap, after painting, the room looked like this...

Sewing Room after paint
Having never before pulled up carpeting, I sort of assumed you'd cut the existing carpet in strips and just roll it up along with the pad and cart it away.  I naively thought the pad just laid under the carpet.  I had no idea it was held in place with a bazillion staples, each of which had to be removed!  I was smart enough to know that there were tack strips around the outer wall; however, I was unprepared for just how sharp those things are.  We had to break them down into smaller pieces to throw away (one of my jobs), but really, have you ever tried to grab one of them?  There's no place to hold them because nails stick out both sides.  Hauling the carpet away was heavy, but having never moved new carpet, I can't say if the old is heavier than the new stuff.  Removing the old carpet wasn't a terrible job, just dirty and much more time consuming than I expected.  Then again, every job is more time consuming than I expect.  It's my thing.

Sewing Room with the carpet removed
My husband took the next day to sand all the rough patches on the floor and to remove the baseboards.  Initially I thought we could leave them in place, install the floor and just put quarter round up, but we decided it'd be better to put the floor under it.

So the carpet/floor cleanup took one weekend and the following weekend was spent picking up cabinets and installing the TV.  What I expected to take a few hours mounting the television, ended up taking about 7 hours.  However, when I think about all the steps involved it makes sense.  We had to install a new electrical outlet and a new media outlet, move the coax cable, pull all the media cables through the wall, install the TV mount, hang the TV and fix some of the sheet rock.  Actually I'm surprised it didn't take the whole weekend!

New wall mount and cables
The TV's not actually a new purchase.  My husband got a new TV for Christmas last year and the old one was moved up to my sewing room.  I'm excited that there's just enough space to the left of it for me to make a little wall hanging.  Because the ceiling is slanted in here, wall space is at a premium, so it's hard to find room to hang quilts.

Step by step, it's slowly getting done.  Actually, the cabinets have been installed, the floor is almost done and I ordered the counter tops today (but I'll share those pictures soon).  It's still probably going to be another 6 weeks or so before it's completely finished, but that'll be here before I know it.  Besides, patience is a virtue!

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Colossians 3:12 (NLT) 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Displaced Sternum...

Not long ago, my husband and I each noticed a lump on our cat Moses' chest.  It appeared suddenly (within a week or two) and was large.  Of course we were concerned and contacted the vet.  We are very fortunate to have a mobile vet that comes out to our house to tend to our animals (they do not travel well), but unfortunately she was out of town.  After some scrambling, I was able to get her in to see a very good vet about 40 minutes from our house.  During the exam, the vet said the growth felt like bone and wanted to do x-rays.  It turns out she was right.  Somehow Moses has managed to displace her sternum.  She consulted with another vet, because they've never seen this before.  (This tends to be a recurring theme in my household.)  It's not broken or fractured, just moved out of place.  At the base of her ribs, her sternum now sticks straight out from her body just like a knob.

It doesn't hurt her at all and there's nothing they can actually do to put it back in place.  They think it probably happened during a fall.  She's a really, really bad jumper, so that wouldn't surprise me.  She misses her landing more than half the time she jumps (and always has).  Although it doesn't bother her, it feels really creepy to pick her up now because the bone juts out.  We've now put a stool out to her favorite jumping spot in the hopes she won't fall again (or at least as much).

Also while we were at the vet we discovered Moses has an ear infection.  Go figure!  I have to put refrigerated ear drops in that ear twice a day and clean it out several times a week.  She also gets her Prozac medication in her other ear every day.  Between the car ride, trip to the vet, long waiting time and my obsessively messing with her ears, this is how Moses feels towards me right now...

I really can't say that I blame her.  As much as I hate having to hunt her down and do it, I think I would hate having something cold squirted in my ears all the time.  And the directions for cleaning her ear tell me to squirt a bunch of solution in it and let it dissolve some of the gunk in there before cleaning it out.  Excuse me, but what animal on earth is going to let you pour a bunch of stuff in their ear and then sit there and wait?  None that I know of.  As soon as something wet gets in there, they all start shaking their head.  Cat, dog, it doesn't seem to matter.

Hopefully the infection will be cleared up soon and we can start getting back to normal (and she'll finally forgive me)!

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. 
Hebrews 10:36 (NLT)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Peach Cobbler and the 4th of July...

Happy 4th of July to all of my U.S. compatriots!  

Today is a day to celebrate our freedom and our country's history.  My street had a neighborhood picnic and except for an unexpected shower, it was a really great gathering with some wonderful people and delicious food.  One of the things I made for it was Peach Cobbler.  The peaches this time of year are so sweet and juicy that they're perfect for this very simple recipe.  I can't remember who I got the recipe from, but every time I make it, people ask me for it.

Peach Cobbler
  • 2 cups sliced peaches
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup of milk
Mix the peaches with 1 cup of sugar.  Put the butter in a very deep pan and set in a 350 degree oven to melt.  Stir up batter of 1 cup of sugar, the flour, baking powder, salt and milk.  Pour over the melted butter.  Do not stir!  Spoon the peaches on top.  Bake for 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown.  The batter rises to the top during baking.

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 
Galatians 5:13 (NLT)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Renovation Giveaway (Winner Announced)...

I still have more fabrics, books and notions that I need to find new homes for before my sewing room is done.  To that end, I'm going to start back with some more giveaways.  This first one is for a little bundle of Bistro fabrics by Deb Strain.  There are 5 pieces here, each 1/3 of a yard.

Bistro by Deb Strain
I'm just going to leave this open for a few days.  If you'd like to own this fabric, leave a comment below  letting me know one fun thing you're doing this summer.

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to limit these giveaways to those with U.S. addresses only, because of the high price of postage (and the growing cost of my renovation!)

 (FYI - All the fabric that I give away is from a smoke free, but not pet free home.  However, I do my best to keep it free from pet hair.)

7/6/13 - Congratulations to Kim who won this little bundle!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Renovation Step #1 - Painting...

Wow!  What a long absence.  I really thought I'd only be gone for a week or two, but that turned into well over a month.  I was sick for a lot of that time, but recently I've been making some progress on my sewing room renovation.  It's been great for my recuperation both mentally and physically!

I'm not sure if I ever showed a picture of my sewing space before I started packing it up.  Here it is in all it's organized and cluttered glory.

My sewing space pre-renovation
I know I'm blessed to have such a large sewing space.  This room is about 15 feet by 28 feet.  I started out in a tiny bedroom and when I outgrew it, my husband was so sweet to let me have the bonus room.

This room has never been painted since we moved in more than 12 years ago.  It was obvious they used very little paint in here when the house was built.  I put painter's tape around the window to paint it and left it there for less than 24 hours hours; however, when I pulled it off, it took some of the sheetrock paper with it.  That's how bad it was.

My brother was kind enough to paint the ceiling for me.  The old color looks gray next to the nice bright white it is now.  It took 3 and a half gallons of paint to cover it.  It soaked up the paint like a sponge.

I painted the walls myself.  I used the Behr Premium Plus Paint and Primer in one.  You can only buy it at Home Depot.  After painting almost every room in our house multiple times, we'll only use Behr paint from now on, but this is the first time I've used the paint and primer in one.

It's more expensive, but it's definitely worth the money.  It covered the walls with just over 1 gallon of paint.  (The unpainted space is where cabinets are going.)

The color is called Wheat Bread.  I think it looks pretty good with the white cabinets and wood floor I've picked out (but more about that next time.)

Obviously I've been away far too long.  This was an awfully long post just about paint.  However, I've got some fabric to give away next time so stay tuned!

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 
Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)