Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Twas the Night Before......

Floor!

Sunday we lined the walls with brown paper and plastic.

 
 
 


Monday morning, the crew arrived to remove the old flooring and glue. They had told us it would take a half day, but at 4 p.m. they called it a day with a lot of glue still on the floor.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dear Santa, All I Want for Christmas Is To Be Like You

Not your figure or your taste in fashion, but what is on the inside. Let me give you a list.  You like lists.

1. Good cheer.
I'm sure you meet more rude people in one day than I do in a month, and yet you have not become grouchy or cynical.

2. Boundless energy.
You get out and about every day, you shop till you drop (except you never drop), and you don't need an afternoon nap to get through the day.

3. Priorities.
You have stress level has got to be overwhelming during the last months of the year and yet you make time for everyone. How do you do that?

4. Outstanding memory.
You're how old? And yet you remember every name, every list, every address and every change of address.

5. Keeping up with technology.
This is a big one. You've progressed from the old magic slate to ipads, from wood blocks to microchips, and from analog to digital.

What brought this on, you ask? Well, you see, I've been talking to my mother and spending time with my mother-in-law, and it scares me to think that is my future.

The other day my mother wanted my daughter's and son-in-law's Christmas lists. They sent us Amazon lists and mom wanted me to give them to her over the phone. I told her I needed to email it to her but she hasn't gotten her email set up with her new ISP. She's been waiting for a couple of months for someone to come do it for her. She's not as old as you, Santa. She's only 82, but I can see that she has slowed down a lot in the last few years. Kudos to her for getting on the internet fifteen years ago, and keeping up with upgrades, but, well, let me explain.

I set up a free email for her a couple of years ago just in case something happened to her ISP, but she forgot about it. So I told her I would set up another one if she thought she could use it. She assured me she knew exactly how to use it. So I created a new email, and made it easy by just using her first and last name, sent her the Amazon lists and then called to tell her. That conversation went something like this.

me:
"Hi mom, I set up an email for you at xxxxx.com. It's your first and last name, no space between."

mom:
"Let me go get some paper."

me:
"No, you don't need any paper, it's your first and last name, no space between."

mom:
"I need to write it down. I'll be right back." I hear rustling noises

me (in a raised voice):
"Mom, you don't need paper. Did you hear me? It's your name. Your own name. You don't need to write it down."

mom:
"My real name?"

me:
"Yes, your real name, first and last, with no space between. Doesn't matter if you use capital letters or not. Your password is the same as the one for your other account, and it is taped over your computer. Type it in just the way it is written because passwords are case sensitive. The email account is at xxxx.com. Look for mail, or a word with mail in it, in the top right corner of the screen and click on that. Do you remember how to use the email or do you need me to tell you each step?"

mom:
"Yes, that's easy. I have xxxx.com set up as my home page already; I've done it before and know exactly how to do it. I'm going to bed in an hour so I don't have time to get on the internet tonight, but I'll get online tomorrow."

Good. So the next day she called back.

mom:
"I can't find the Christmas lists."

me:
"Let me check your email and see if they are in spam." I check and they are the only emails in her inbox. "They're right there, mom. Are you in the inbox?"

mom:
"I don't know. Does it look any different than the xxxxx.com page? I typed my name, no spaces, and my password into the search box and it came up with a lot of links, but they aren't Amazon links."

me:
"Hmmm, that doesn't sound right. You clicked on the mail in the top right corner, and it went to a sign in page, right?"

mom:
"No, I didn't have to click on the mail because the cursor was blinking in an empty box when I opened the page, so I put it in there."

me:
"xxxx.com is a search engine, mom. You put your name and password into the search box of the search engine."

mom:
"What's a search engine?"

me:
"It's how you search for information on the internet. You've done it before. You've even done it with your own name before. Remember how you freaked out when you searched your name and found all that information?"

mom:
"Oh, yeah. I thought it looked kind of familiar."

me:
"Okay, let's do this together. Go to xxxx.com. Are you there?"

mom:
"Yes, I'm there."

me:
"Do you see the word with mail in it, in the top right corner?"

mom:
"Yes, I clicked on it, and I see the log in. I'm typing my name and password in it now." A pause. "Something's wrong. It says "invalid ID or password."

me:
"Did you type in your name, first and last with no space, in the top box? And then your password in the lower box, just as it is written on that paper over your computer? The password is case sensitive."

mom:
"What is case sensitive?"

me (beating my head against the table):
"Case. Like upper case is a capital letter, lower case is a little letter."

mom:
"Oh yes, of course, I knew that. Well, I typed everything into the top box. My name with no space, then a space, and then my password. I have the Caps lock on because it's easier to see and you said it didn't matter."

me (and Santa, I'm afraid I rolled my eyes and sighed here):
"No, it doesn't matter about your name, but it does matter about the password. The password has to be typed exactly like it is on the paper, with Capital letters where they are, numbers where they are, and lower case letters where they are. And the password is typed into the lower box. Only your name is typed into the upper box, no space between your first and last name. Try it again."

mom:
"Okay, it worked this time. I see the emails with Lil's Amazon lists."

me (hesitantly):
"Do you think you can click on the links in the email and go through an Amazon checkout or do I need to walk you through it?"

mom (in an annoyed tone):
"Of course I can buy something from Amazon. I know exactly how to do it. I've done it many times."

Scary thought. 

Scarier is that this is my future too.  Santa, can you help me out?

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Monday, December 9, 2013

I Was Wrong, We Did Lose Power

Yesterday evening, the power flickered a few times and then went off for a few hours. When the power finally came back on, the router was messed up and one of the ovens wasn't on. Turning the breaker on and off fixed the power to the oven, but the router took longer. Somehow, the power surge reset the router and now the internet connection isn't steady. I managed to secure the network, but we probably need a new router.

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ice Storm!



The weatherman got it right this time. The freezing rain started Thursday night and by Friday the streets were sheets of ice. Schools and a lot of businesses were closed and we snuggled in to watch it on tv. And we were not disappointed. Semi trucks got stuck on overpasses, cars spun out of control on freeways, and the gloved and bundled weathermen were outside to show us how cold it is and to warn us not to go outside if we didn't have to. They didn't have to be outside showing us the inch or so of ice on the roads, but their advice was only for us anyway. One guy picked up a huge sheet of ice, shook it skyward, and proclaimed that "this fell from the sky". That's when you know the weathermen have been outside too long.

Hubby spent most of Friday in his office, and he's been watching football today, but I think he's getting cabin fever. He's been pacing a little and talking about going out for pizza. I'd rather not have a wreck today, thank you very much. One of our neighbors was in a wreck yesterday about a half mile down the road. Since we are on a dead end road, the wreck prevented anyone from coming and going either way. My next door neighbor waited for it to clear for over an hour before she got to come home.

The cat had cabin fever yesterday too. He went to the door as usual and was half way out before he realized it was freezing outside. He stopped but then decided to go on out, went two or three steps, and then turned around to come back in. He paced, played with sawdust bunnies (the garage equivalent of dust bunnies), and attacked throw rugs before finally jumping into the chair for a nap.

I paid bills, sent out invoices, balanced checkbooks, and drank hot chocolate. Today I painted the foyer, which probably wasn't the best idea I've ever had, because I am NOT going outside to clean the roller. I'll wrap it in plastic and put it in nature's freezer until the temperature is warm again.

It will be dusk soon, and I should go find something to cook for dinner before Hubby decides to go for pizza. He's been outside scraping his car windows, and came around to the window beside my computer with a big hunk of ice which he held over his shoulder with one hand while miming to me that it came from the sky. Gotta love him.

So goodnight from frozen Texas, and watch out for falling sheets of ice.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Weekend Project

Our foyer somehow became the dumping ground for homeless items after the water leak. My goal last weekend was to empty the foyer, find places for these items, and remove the baseboard and crown molding so I can paint before new flooring.





I got most of it done Saturday, but Sunday Hubby called. He had been at the lease in the beastmobile and the belt broke when we was about an hour away from home. In fact, two belts broke. He had an old spare, changed it, drove about two miles and then it snapped too. The worst part was that it was cold Sunday. We were under a winter storm warning, with freezing rain predicted. But he called a tow truck and I met him at the repair shop, transferred all his stuff into the car, and brought him home.

So this is as much as I got done.





Ripping off the framed tapestry popped a sheetrock joint, so now I get to fix that. Then paint, and finally floor!

Blessings,
Marti

Friday, November 22, 2013

Living Room Ceiling, FINALLY Done

If we EVER again consider buying a house with a vaulted ceiling, I hope someone does an intervention.

But now it's done and we are that much closer to getting flooring installed.

To recap, we originally had railroad track beams (fake beams) running the length of the ceiling. We always thought we'd put stained wood on the ceiling, but with a wood floor, it was just too dark. So we opted for side beams.

First, we (as in Hubby), pulled the bottom board of the beams off the ceiling. They were originally constructed like this:



There was a one inch lip on each side, which did nothing but collect dust and provide spiders a place to live. Plus, it was hard to paint the ceiling around it. So Hubby trimmed them to be flush with the sides, not an easy task as one of the "beams" was bowed badly. While the bottom was off, I refinished the sides of the beams. By the time I finished, I was almost comfortable working on the scaffold, but a rail on both sides would have been handy. I refinished the bottom piece in the garage before we put it back up.

Then we looked at a lot of pictures of similar ceilings with side beams and Hubby thought it would look best with two smaller beams on each side and the center. But it had an unfinished look to me, like the ends were dangling, and I coerced talked him into putting two more on each side to anchor each end. We thought that would all be work that could be done on the ground, but all the nail holes had to be filled and then a final finish coat, so my scaffold work continued.

Then a little touch up paint on the ceiling and we were ready to paint the walls. I wanted to go with a blue gray, but it just didn't look good, so we went with a trusted neutral, Antique White.

There is a little trim work to be done, plus the baseboard after the flooring is installed, and then comes the fun part: decorating.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's Just the Beginning of November, Right?

I've already seen two decorated Christmas trees in windows the past couple of days.

The rate I'm going, I'll be doing good to get a tree up by Christmas Eve.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Hubby Finally Slipped Up

Since the cat decided to live with us a couple of years ago, Hubby has referred to him as "your cat". As in "your cat needs to be fed," "your cat made a mess in the garage," "your cat is so goofy." Of course he feeds the cat, pets the cat, and even has a chair next to his chair in the office for the cat. He has caught himself several times before calling the cat his cat, but the other day he finally slipped and said "my cat nearly fell off the chair when I was petting him." Ha! Gotcha!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Another Gray, Drizzly Day

I love it.

This morning I put on clothes without paint on them. It felt odd actually. I went to a carpet store to price some carpet for the bedrooms and then the grocery store. Didn't lift a finger at the house.

Back to the grind tomorrow.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Just a Sentence and Photos

I've missed blogging. I think of things I should document but I've been so busy it's hard to find time to compose a blog post. But I had a thought today, that I didn't have to write a story, or even in complete sentences. Just a sentence to share what's going on. My goal is to post every day for the rest of this month. It may be just a sentence and photos. Or just a sentence fragment.

Making progress. Today I finished fixing all the cracks above the doors in the hall, and sprayed the texture. Now all the walls are covered with texture. And so am I.

I should have taken before pictures, but I didn't think of it. I didn't think of taking after pictures until I had already taken down some of the tape and plastic. I hate the prep work. Sanding, cleaning, taping. So much work just to be able to get to work.  (Yes, that door at the end will be painted.)





This corner had been messed up by someone who previously textured for us and didn't bother to take off the door trim. It looked like the wall was crushed, but it was just texture that had been smushed between the door frame and corner. More prep work. Take off the trim, remove nails, remove tape and mud, replace tape and mud (smoothly this time). Finally, texture.

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Monday, September 30, 2013

We Seem to Attract Gray Cats

When you walk in our front door, the first thing you see is the partially ripped up wood flooring, and next to that in the empty living room is a scaffold. There is a toilet in the hall bathtub, and our bed is still in the middle of the family room. I can joke about it to others, but being here 24/7 has worn my nerves and mood. So it was with great relief that we spent a long weekend in Branson recently. We met the married kids, did the Arts and Music festival at Silver Dollar City, and took in a show in town.

We stayed in a condo at a resort where we have stayed before, and the first thing we saw while going to our car the first day was this cat. We thought he belonged to someone staying in one of the condos, but there is a no pet policy there and the check in instructions say not to touch any animals we may see as they are either strays or belong to neighboring homes. This cat had a collar and seemed to stay in the condo parking lot all the time. A little girl from another condo took up with the cat and carried him around everywhere, and the cat seemed perfectly content to go along with whatever she wanted to do.

I went out to take a photo and found the little girl holding him. I asked if I could take a picture of him, and the little girl set him down and just in time too. He promptly threw up and then walked over to this curb to recuperate. After a few minutes, the little girl picked him up again and took him over to the swimming pool. She stood at the edge of the pool watching people play and swim and the cat sat calmly in her arms. So this cat only resembles my cat in color, not personality.

The condo cat:


My Buddy:


And this is the first cat Hubby and I had. We didn't have him long as we got him from a neighbor on a Friday and when we took him to the vet for shots on Monday, we learned he had distemper. It was a long time before we could let another cat into our lives after that.



Like that crazy orange and gold shag carpet? It was in the house when we bought it, but I don't remember thinking it was hideous at the time.   If you are wondering how long ago that was, it took me a few minutes to realize that that was me sitting next to the cat.  A much younger and thinner me.


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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Just a Little Update

This morning the pastor said that it is so easy to fall away from church. First you miss a Sunday, and the next Sunday you think to yourself that you don't really feel like going this day either, even though you feel a bit guilty. The next Sunday it's easier not to go, and on until the day comes that you think to yourself that you can worship right there on the patio with your cup of coffee.

I think the same is true of blogging. Not that blogging is the same as church attendance, but the falling away is the same. One day I'm too busy, but I think about it during the day, composing a post in my mind but forgetting most of it by the time I sit down in front of the computer at the end of my day. As the days go by, I think less and less about posting, except to think to myself that when I get such and such done, I'll write a post summarizing the whole ordeal. And then that never happens either.

I often wonder if that is what happened to some of the blogs I used to read regularly. One is a real puzzle to me. It was written by a pair of sisters and they had a lot of neat craft ideas, recipes, and a weekly linky party. The last post, written about a year ago, was a linky party with no mention of it being their last post, or taking a break, or anything. Just no more posts.

I've been thinking all week how handy this blog has been when I want to know something that happened since I've been writing it. This week when the plumber was here, I really wished I had been blogging and photographing when we built the garage. It would have saved a lot of time. Tomorrow I'll try to post what I learned from the plumber so you might save some money should you ever be in the same circumstance.

The situation with the house has gotten to me. I feel frustrated and stymied and spend a lot of time spinning my wheels and a lot of time just plain depressed about it. Here's where we stand. The master bedroom is empty. The bed is in the middle of the family room, the dresser is in the dining room, and the clothes are scattered in every non-empty room. Nothing like waking up in the middle of the night without a pillow because there is no headboard to hold it in, plus the fact that NO ONE is invited into our house because THERE'S A BED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM! No matter what the bedroom looks like when we are done, I'll appreciate just having a bedroom.

The wood flooring is still in a state of being partially removed and the glue remains stuck to the floor where the wood has been taken up. I found a replacement wood floor that I like, and in reading the installation instructions I found that calcium chloride tests need to be done to satisfy the warranty requirements. I called all three flooring contractors who had given me bids and all of them blew it off, saying they always used a moisture meter. So I bought the tests and ground off the glue and paint splatters from the slab which spread a layer of dust throughout the house.

According to the installation instructions, the calcium chloride tests couldn't be over 3 pounds per 1000 square feet, and all of these were over that. I talked to the manufacturer and was told to check the foundation for plumbing leaks (which is why the plumber was here) and if one was found and then fixed, do the tests again.

The plumber found no leaks in the foundation, but he did find that there was a leak somewhere between the house and the water faucet forty feet away. Luckily, our drought conditions made one green spot in the yard a likely possibility, and sure enough there was a break in the pipe under the faucet. So Hubby spent his Saturday busting out concrete and replacing that pipe and faucet.

Meanwhile, the flooring manufacturer said there is a moisture resistant adhesive they make that can be used on slabs that are under 4 pounds per thousand square feet. So we're good to go there.

What we still need to do, and the main source of my frustration, is that we have to seal the slab we will carpet and we haven't got a plan for sealing it. And after I made such a huge dusty mess just grinding off the glue in three square feet, I am afraid the people who remove the remaining 370 square feet are going to make a mess that will take me weeks to clean up.

But trying to remain positive and going forward, I have made a list of every little thing that needs to be done to the house, and tomorrow I am getting the first drywall bid. I was beginning to despair of any of them even calling back. Maybe another will call back tomorrow so I can have at least two bids.

I've been listing stuff on craig's list and have given away a lot of materials that were laying around here, and even got the fence removed from around the garden by someone who wanted the t-posts and fencing wire. Now if I could just sell the good stuff.

I'm sure my mood will improve when we begin to make some progress on the house, and when the temperature begins to drop. The older I get, the less I can tolerate day after day of temperatures near 100. We're supposed to drop into the mid 90's by Thursday and I hope it continues to drop every day until the days are pleasant again. Friday morning, the tv weatherman said we would all be happy to hear that the high was not going to be 100, only 99. Well, I don't know about him, but I'm just as hot at 99 as I am at 100. I won't really be happy until the temperatures are below 90, and then I'll probably talk about how much I love fall and living here. It's like the pain of childbirth they say everyone forgets soon after the birth, except I start dreading the heat again by mid May.

So there you are. If you've managed to read through all this, you are caught up on my life, and maybe, just maybe, I'll remember to post again tomorrow.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Snowball Effect of Home Remodeling

Still walking on splintered wood floors and glue stuck to the slab here. I finally got our third bid this morning to replace the damaged floors. We also decided that we might as well rip up the last of the original tile in the foyer and do wood there too. We had a bid for the hardwood right after the leak, but a few days after the water restoration company removed their fans and dehumidifiers, I noticed a musty smell when I came in the back door. I placed bowls of vinegar and activated charcoal in every room but it didn't help.

Hubby replaced a section of sheetrock in the kitchen that had discolored and still the smell remained. Then I noticed in the hall bathroom that where they pulled out the baseboard there was mold on the sheetrock. So Hubby ripped out the panel and sheetrock there too. But that wasn't the source of the smell either. Even with the spots on the sheetrock, that room smelled fine.

Then I turned off the air conditioner, closed the doors to every room, and left for the day. When I came home, I noticed that only the master bedroom had the musty smell. So we moved all the furniture into the family room (who needs a coffee table when you can have a bed between your sofa and tv?), ripped up the carpet and pad, and shoved it out the window. I mopped the floor with Pinesol, and then bleach but the room was still musty. Finally, I got down on my hands and knees and smelled the floor. Bingo. There are hairline cracks in the floor caused by the foundation lift we had several years ago. The biggest one was only a sixteenth of an inch or less, but that's where the smell was coming from. I can only guess that the water got down into the crack and began growing mold or mildew.

Hubby's solution was to cover all the cracks with an epoxy sealer, but it was too thin to cover the bigger crack, it just drained to the bottom. I suppose if I filled it every day it would eventually fill to the top, but I don't have the time or patience for that. So now we need to fill it with a concrete filler and then seal over the top. Just another delay in getting the floor done.

Then one day, while I was standing in the empty room, I glanced at the ceiling and thought to myself, "there probably won't be a better time to scrape the popcorn from the ceiling" and I had that done before Hubby could come home and tell me not to. (I did the hall too.)

So now, in addition to fixing the floor, we need to get someone to spray texture on the ceilings. And since a pro will be out here for that, we might as well get all the sheetrock cracks filled at the same time. Nearly every room in our house has at least one crack over a door or window. I thought I had caused them but nailing curtain rods near the corners, but when I was searching for how to repair the cracks, I learned that (according to the pros) sheetrock seams should never be at the corners of windows and doors, and of course that is exactly where Larry, Moe, and Curly put them when they built our house. The pros say that the best thing to do is to remove sections of sheetrock and replace with "L" shaped pieces that wrap the corners so the seam is in the center of the window or door. Since that isn't going to happen here, we'd like someone who knows that they are doing to replace the tape and refloat the joints. Maybe that will last another thirty years before having to be done again.

Between tearing out sheetrock and crawling around on the concrete floor, we finally finished installing the beadboard ceiling in the kitchen. We went with 3/4 inch unfinished pine board after seeing other ceilings done with it, and talking to some of the owners. Biggest mistake we ever made. We should have used primed panels. Not only is the 3/4 inch more expensive and more labor intensive, it warped before we could get it all up, and it had to be painted. Ay yi yi on the painting. I had learned my lesson on the dining room ceiling and demanded that the wood for the kitchen ceiling be painted before installing. And that would have been great, except Hubby found that he needed to shoot the nails through each board in several places, not just inside the groove. So all those holes need to be spackled, primed, and painted. Plus caulking between each board and painting over that. But worst of all, the knot holes bled through even with primer. So now I have to use a shellac based primer on all the knot holes and paint over them. This ceiling is going to take forever.

******** In February, I told my doctor I didn't want to take cholesterol medication because I thought it was causing my hip pain. He agreed as long as I watched my diet and started exercising. I promised. But I didn't follow through. After a few months, my hip pain was still there, though not keeping me awake at night. The real benefit is that my hot flashes went away. But a few weeks ago, a lab test showed my cholesterol was higher than ever (almost 300) and he put me back on the meds and insisted I count calories and exercise. He wants me to walk thirty minutes every day and limit calories to 1500 a day.

That calorie counting thing, well that's not as easy as it sounds. I have no ideas how many calories are in most of our favorite recipes or even how to figure it out. So I have been searching out new recipes and hoping whoever put them on recipe websites figured the calories right.

I've been doing pretty well with the walking though. At first, ten minutes wore me out. Now I'm up to forty five minutes and I think I am going to set a goal of doing a 5K. I don't really like walking though once I get going it's not so bad. I do better with goals and schedules, so a 5K might motivate me. I need to know more about them though. I don't want to sign up for something and be the only walker in a race of runners, and it would be nice to walk with other people too.

So that's about all that is new with me. I sure am ready to have my house back in order and spend an afternoon sewing again.

Oh, yes. I am rereading some old favorites and am currently reading the Sackett series from Louis L'Amour. This paragraph made me flip back to the front of the book to see when it was written. It's an observation about people, which apparently is timeless.

Right then I (Tyrel Sackett) felt sorry for Martin Brady (a bad guy), although his kind would outlast my kind because people have a greater tolerance for evil than for violence. If crooked gambling, thieving, and robbing are covered over, folks will tolerate it longer than outright violence, even when the violence may be cleansing.
It made me think of what is going on in other countries today, and even in our own government.

And now I must get back up on my stepstool and start caulking the ceiling again.

Blessings,
Marti

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The 15 Minute Sewing Challenge, a Top Completed

I'm not going to take the time to make a chart. For the first time in a very long time, I sewed every day this past week. That is probably the end of my current sewing streak though. I wanted to get this top off the floor so we could move furniture out of our bedroom and get floors done. Also, the tiller and I had a major disagreement about starting, and a finger joint on my left hand and a muscle in my lower right arm were wrenched. I can't even open a water bottle right now.

The Concert Memories quilt top is finished, back is stitched, and I have the batting. All I have to do now if find a place to lay it out and pin it. Then I'm going to try quilting it myself. It's not worth it to me to send it out for quilting.



I'll update my stash list next time. This is all the typing my fingers can do for now. Join me at Kate's Life in Pieces to see how others have used bits of time this week, and let us know what you've been doing too.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dog Days of Summer? Should be Sweat Box Days of Summer

I had to mow the yard yesterday. I know you're thinking "So...?"  But you see, we usually don't have to mow the yard between mid July and September. But it rained this month. You're thinking it again. "So...?" But it just doesn't rain here in July and August.  Oh yes, we have gotten rain in July before, but it's kind of like this:

Two people are walking down the sidewalk. One says: "Something hit me!"

"What was it?"

"I don't know. Wait, there it was again. It was a drop of water."

"Where'd it come from?" Looking around, no one in sight, not even a bird.

"I don't know. It's kind of cloudy, maybe it is going to rain."

"In July? Not likely."

"No wait. There was another one. Did you feel it? Look, there's a drop on the sidewalk."  They walk a few feet. "Look, there's another one."

"Hey, I felt one. And I see drops on the sidewalk too."

"Oh, I think it's over now; the sun is out. But wow, it rained."

"Yep, rain in July. I never would have believed it."
In the last several weeks, we've gotten over two inches of rain. Real rain that you can see falling, fills rain gauges, turns dirt into mud, and makes grass grow.  It seems really odd to have green grass in July.  I even got bit by chiggers yesterday.  I thought the heat and drought burned them out for the rest of the year.

But now it's hot, and thanks to the rain, it's humid.  The local weather station predicts highs over 100 for the next two weeks and lows over 80.  That makes the great outdoors a sweat box, even at midnight.

On the upside, I have flowers blooming that normally only bloom in spring and fall.  They love the humidity.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's Tuesday, Time for the 15 Minute Challenge

Brownie made an unexpected trip home last Tuesday, so I pulled out the pieces for her t-shirt quilt so she could approve the layout. Then I put the shapes onto an excel grid and figured out the exact size for each block.

I had ironed interfacing onto many of the blocks before I put them away, but I left some undone so I could cut them to fit different sizes, and I needed more interfacing. Around here, the only place to buy interfacing is Walmart, and I am not a Walmart fan. I got the orginal interfacing at one Walmart but I was in another town when I bought the rest, and I got the wrong kind. It looked the same in the store, and when I started ironing it on, I noticed it was stiffer, but thought it would probably soften with use. It didn't. Even after sewing several of those blocks together, it didn't change. Turns out I got the wrong kind. So I spent one evening ripping out at least two days' work. What is it with me!??

So I had to go back to get more of the right kind of interfacing. I went back to the first Walmart for that. One good thing that came of these trips to Walmart is that I found the perfect background fabric for this quilt. I know, some of you won't use Walmart fabric, and if this were going to be an heirloom type quilt, (stop laughing), I would use quilt shop fabrics. But I can't afford to buy fabric there often. Most store bought quilts and comforters last me about five years with regular use and washings. These will last about fifteen years of daily use, so I think it's a good trade off.

Here's what is on my design wall floor today. I'd really like to finish the top by the end of the month.



Six out of seven days again. Not too bad. Still wish I had more to show for it.


I haven't done nearly as well with my stash busting. Not only did I buy the wrong interfacing, I bought two different fabrics for the Around the World Quilt I posted last week, and didn't like either one when I got them home and laid out next to the top. If white doesn't look good, I'm just going to bind it the way it is and call it a lap quilt.


I'm linking up to Kate's Life in Pieces. Hop on over to link up or see how everyone is trying to fit at least 15 minutes of sewing time into their day.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Is It Friday Already?

This week has gone by too fast. I feel like I'm being stretched in too many directions, and nothing is getting done. Hubby and I have canned tomato juice, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, three varieties of salsa, and I've made tomato soup. I didn't like it well enough to can it. And I still have about 5 gallons of tomatoes to do, and would like to pick some green ones and make some chow chow. I'm just about sick of tomatoes. But it's the best production we've ever had so I guess we should be grateful. Next year could be a bust.

In addition to tomatoes, I've frozen several quarts of shredded zucchini, onions, and blackeye peas. We should eat this year.

We finally got paid by the insurance company and looked at some replacement flooring. I hate making these choices. What I like in the store, I don't like as well once we get it home. This is the original floor:



And here are three choices we picked yesterday.



I really liked the first one in the store, but not so much here. What do you think?

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Men Will Be Men

Today's funny of the day.

Hubby has a ham radio, and he has recently discovered that he can listen to the law enforcement bands. Yesterday, there was a call from the dispatcher saying there was a woman driving on the freeway wearing only a bra and a thong, flashing other drivers, and weaving in and out of traffic. Two units responded immediately that they would take the call.

Now is that dedication, or what? Yeah I know. It's the or what.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sewing, The Challenge

I tried to get some sewing in this week, but as Hubby observed, I spent more time unsewing than sewing. I wanted to use my new Janome and thought the denim quilt would be a good test for it. Unfortunately, the first set of instructions I found had an error, so I spent several hours ripping that out. A few more trials and I found a method that seems to work. This is where I am now, three meager rows after four days' work.



Then I took a day off so I could can some tomatoes and work on my fabric inventory. While doing that, I came across this Around The World Quilt. I couldn't decide what to do about borders so put it aside.  I know it looks rectangular in the photo below, but that's just camera distortion, it's really square.



The problem with square quilts is that they just don't fit beds. So after looking at it again, I decided to add more rows to the top and bottom. A search through my scraps and I remembered why I stopped it where I did - I had used all I had of a couple of fabrics. Then, inspiration hit and I thought it would make the right size twin quilt if I took two rows off each side and added a row to both top and bottom. So more ripping. Here it is today with the side rows off and the top and bottom rows ready to sew.



Six out of seven days isn't bad, all things considered. I just wish I had more to show for it.



And now for a confession. I wanted bright fabrics for my denim quilt, and did have a few in my stash, but... I had them earmarked for other projects.

So I bought more fabric.

Just a few fat quarters of brights. But then I saw some all cotton seersucker which makes excellent backing for receiving blankets, and it just jumped in my cart and held on when I tried to put it back on the shelf. So it had to come home with me. I have a weak spot for strays, be it cats, dogs, or fabrics.

An update of my stash buster report and stash inventory:



Join me this week at Life in Pieces to see how others have used their sewing time this week.  It's funny, Kate wrote that she thinks the hot weather they have had has slowed her sewing.  We've had a stretch of the coolest days I can remember having in July.  We've had over three days of a nice, steady rain, and Tuesday our high was 74.  It's been heavenly.  I can just imagine what it's like to live in Seattle or England where it rains all the time.  I have been wondering when they mow their lawns.  My grass is long and green, but the ground is too soft to mow without leaving ruts.

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