Monday, February 29, 2016

The Clutter Shuffle

The Clutter Shuffle: The act of moving clutter from one room to another in order to make the first room appear neat, clean, and orderly.

I quit cleaning house, really cleaning that is, a long time ago. I figured I kept a sparkling clean house for twenty-five years and I had done my time. No one noticed when it was clean, and they immediately messed up everything I had just done anyway. And then we moved to this house where we had more stuff than room to put it, and no one would part with their beloved stuff. That's when the clutter shuffle began. And even after we added on to this house, we had more clutter than space because we had had years to collect more. A phone call that someone was on the way over and the whole family sprang into action like a well-trained tactical unit, clearing the clutter out of public spaces and stashing it behind closed doors.

When the kids left home, they left most of their clutter behind too. Most of that was packed into the attic, and they have retrieved some of it over the years. A request to come get it or it's going to the thrift store is met with wails of "Noooo, please save it until I get settled" and so it stayed.

Hubby and I have been talking about getting rid of all this excess, and we've even talked about becoming full or part-time RVers. But we look over the stuff, and can't let it go. It would be a lot easier if we didn't know how much we originally paid for this stuff we aren't using anymore. Or maybe not, a lot of things are picked up by one of us only to hear the other say "I have a plan for that," and so it remains as it is, unloved and unused.

Then, last month, I opened my big mouth and said I would host a neighborhood game day. Since I had a month, I figured I could go through this clutter, take loads to the thrift store, and not only would I have a neat and orderly home for guests, we would be that much closer to being able to downsize to an RV or smaller home.

But that hasn't happened. So now we are days away from having guests. Not enough time to sort through all this stuff, only enough time to hide it. If I can clear out three rooms every day for the next three days, I can present the facade of a neat and clean house. Let the clutter shuffle begin!

And then I join Hoarders Intense Denial of Excess. H.I.D.E.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Leaders and Enders Project

Cathy at A Quilting Chick has a monthly linky party for leaders and enders, which is going to be added incentive for me to use up those boxes of scrap fabrics I have everywhere. I have found that it is easier for me to make simple, mindless blocks for leaders and enders. When I try to make pieced blocks or follow a quilt pattern, I spend more time on the leaders and enders than I do on the quilt I'm trying to make, and then start making mistakes on both of them. So nothing outstanding here, just simple string blocks. Brown is February's color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge but I've been sewing bags lately and that doesn't work well with leaders and enders because of the thread and foot used. Hopefully, I'll get back to my Crossroads quilt soon so I can finish more brown blocks. I need six of them for the end project I'm thinking about.

The block in the top right is paper pieced. I wanted to find a simple leader and ender that would work when doing paper piecing and using a regular foot and think this is work for that. I just need to remember to save some of each color to finish them. My goal with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is to use up those boxes of scraps.

Linking to:
Leader/Ender Linky Party at A Quilting Chick.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Quote of the Day

If you are a fan of BBC's Grantchester series, or the books of the same name, you know that the main character is Sidney Chambers, vicar of the Grantchester church. This is a line from the first book in the series, Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death. The time and setting is December 31 as Sidney is on a train going to London for a holiday, so plenty of time for him to think about the events of the past few weeks (he just solved his first murder mystery, began to fall in love with the widow, and had all the church services surrounding Christmas) and of the coming year.

"...Sidney was determined to remain cheerful in the year ahead. He believed that the secret of happiness was to concentrate on things outside oneself. Introspection and self-awareness were the enemies of contentment..."

Interesting thought, especially since it would appear that it came about after a time of introspection. What do you think? Does self-awareness hinder happiness?

Monday, February 15, 2016

February Blooms

We have had such a mild winter in North Texas (zone 8a last I looked) that spring has come early. We haven't had any ice or snow this year and only a few days where the temperature dipped below freezing. It's nice to see the blooms, butterflies, and honey bees, but not so nice to see the crickets and mosquitoes. As you can see, I need to spend time cleaning out my flower beds, but I took pictures anyway. It has been such a mild winter that schools are closed today to use one of the bad weather days that are built into the calendar. I think that's a first since we've lived here.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Project Demolition

On my to-build list is a media/china cabinet for the dining room. Yes, I said media cabinet IN the dining room. I think I've told you before that I am totally addicted to the tv, and being alone all day, the tv breaks the silence and the monotony of my day. Once before, I tried to eliminate all the tv sets except the one in the family room, and even the kids complained that I wasn't cooking as much without the tv to keep me company. But there isn't a place for one in the kitchen, so it has to be in the dining room.

Right now, the tv and dvr are precariously placed on odd bits of furniture, but yesterday when I was borfing (that is boredom surfing the internet), I saw a post for the top part of a shelving unit and thought it might work in that spot. And it was FREE! For that price, I could make it work.

Since I am not doing any heavy lifting right now, Hubby went with me to get it, and put it in the dining room. From the photo on craigslist, I thought I might be able to turn it upside down, put a top on it, and call it good. But now that it is home, I can see that that won't work. Even though it is only about half the size of the original, it still overpowered the room; it is at least a foot taller than I originally wanted.

Plan B is to rebuild it. The piece is from Ashley furniture, and the good thing about that is that it was easy to take apart. This took about 30 minutes.

The bad thing if you have furniture from Ashley, is that it is easy to take apart. And it is made mostly of mdf. Parts of the crown molding top are real wood and the arched piece across the top of the shelves is real wood. Everything else is veneered mdf. So if a salesman tells you the furniture he is selling is solid wood, he is right, in that it is solid and not hollow. But it's not real wood. It's mdf.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Living for the Moment and Design Wall Monday

The other day, I had to run to town for something or other. As I was driving the same dull road I drive every time I go to town, I noticed a car next to mine. It wasn't the car I noticed as much as the passenger in the car, a black dog with hair so long it covered his eyes. The window was down and the dog's paws were on the door and his face into the wind, long hair flying, and an expression of pure joy on his face. It was probably the same road that the dog had been on many times before also, but for him, the thrill of the ride hadn't diminished over time.

It made me smile to watch the dog enjoying his ride, and reminded me that it doesn't take much effort to enjoy the simple things. I get so busy getting my work done that I forget to stop and enjoy what I have right now. Who knew you could learn something from a dog?

Ok, enough deep thinking for one day. On with the design wall, or floor in this case.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Be Careful What you Wish For

Yesterday, we went to Waco for Storm Spotter training. Well, Hubby went for the training. I went to keep him company. I took my English paper piecing kit and worked on that during the class, and found that the class was more interesting than I thought it would be. The advanced class was pretty technical, so I was glad I had something to keep my hands busy. I noticed that a couple of women there were knitting too. And while I didn't go there to learn to be a storm spotter, I think I picked up enough to be able to know when a cloud over my house is going to be dangerous. Maybe.

I wish I could say I've been doing great with my goals of getting the house decluttered and projects finished, but I feel I've been idling lately. Last Sunday, we went out for an afternoon drive and after an hour or so, I could see why the doctor said to limit driving. Just being a passenger was tiring on my eye. But it has been getting better, and eye drops help the dryness (a common result of laser surgery), and I'm adapting to the black spot and the blurry spot. Funny how the eye can do that, kind of like not seeing the nose even though it's sticking out there.

At my one week followup, the doctor said the laser repair looked good and that it probably wouldn't tear again. I reminded him of all the thin spots he had counted the previous week and asked him if everyone had that many. His answer was no, that most people don't have many and that I'm above average.

I've always wished I could be above average in something. I think I should have been more specific.

Monday, February 1, 2016

February Quilting and Blog Goals

I've decided I like these monthly goals; I like starting fresh very month. For February, I've decided to name not one, but two projects.

First is the Around the World quilt. I really need to find a better name for it though, because it is going to be my snuggle-on-the-couch quilt