Patchwork Times–Birthdays, Un-Decorating and Finishes

Since the New Year’s holiday, I’ve been trying to find my motivation. It seems to have gone on walkabout without me. I know this is what happens when I “take a break” from major projects, which is exactly why I don’t do it to often. I find it really difficult to get into the grove again, even after just a day or two of being away from work, whatever the “work” is at that moment. So I can’t say that I’ve been terribly constructive in the past week and a half, partly due to that absent motivation, but also partly due to normal “stuff,” like:

A birthday

LittleOne’s 12th Birthday celebration, and


Patches and Xmas

The Christmas take-down, despite the cats “helping”.


Finishing

I did, however, finish up the last few quilts for The Book, and I mailed them to AQS yesterday.



WooHoo! Now that the manuscript is really finished, I can move on to some other related tasks: creating classes and workshops, programming the website that goes with the book, and programming my online shop so it can open by mid-May. Whew! Stage 2, comin’ up! Motivation, please come home…

Taking a Breath

The manuscript for The Book is D.O.N.E. Done! I finished writing and drawing diagrams and editing photos today. I do still have to complete three of the quilts (they have been started, but my editor said that it would help them if I finished up the manuscript so that they could get that asap, and the quilts could come later). I also have to separate out the text and pictures and diagrams into separate files and such, so that it’s in the right format to submit, but I’m going to take a break for a few days, and finish that up right after Christmas. I can look at the text one more time with fresh eyes after I’ve been away from it for a few days and give it one more editing run through.

Whew! What this all means is that I really did know exactly how long it would take me to finish all of this. I told the editor around the first of November that I could have everything done by the end of December, and that’s exactly how it’s turned out. I had it figured that there wasn’t a lot of time for anything but working on the manuscript and the quilts; no lunches with ITMan or friends, no breaks for casual shopping, not a lot of reading for pleasure (and I miss my reading!), none of those extracurriculars.

Other than that, it means that now I can take a small breath, try to catch up a bit and make Christmas as close to normal as it can be at this point. ITMan and I are going out shopping tomorrow and Monday to see what last minute small things we can pull together for each other and the kids, and get the food shopping for Christmas done. I might work in some Christmas baking on Sunday and Monday as well, and then I do have to make Christmas Tree Bread dough on Tuesday and shape the loaves on Wednesday, because it’s just NOT Christmas without it.

Foundation

Foundation,
by Mercedes Lackey

Right now, I’m headed to bed early, to read the book that’s been on my bedside table since I bought it in Houston. It’s a new book about Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey, one of my favorite authors, and it’s been sitting there calling me since the end of October. I’m sure Shadow will join me there (he’s still doing well, and we’re all looking forward to Monday when he can have stitches removed and get rid of the collar), and Patches may even deign to share me and the bed with him for a bit. *sigh* It’s the little things.

Edit: And for any of you who have been reading since last year, I did (finally) update the Christmas Tree Bread recipe post with pictures of the bread, such as they are. Maybe I can remember to get even better pictures this year!

The Sleeping Shelf

Lazy Cats
Lazy Cats in the Wintergarden


This is the view in the wintergarden on this fine September afternoon. It’s nice and quiet here, and it turned into a beautiful day, which means that the wintergarden feels like a sauna, and the heat is migrating into the Studio. Shadow and Patches are in heaven on their sleeping shelf under the windows. I’m hanging out in the back room at the beading table, trying to stay cool(er)! Hmm, I don’t think I ever shared a picture (or the story) of my new beading area.

The Perfect Caddy from Hinterberg

I really wanted to order one of these Perfect Sewing Caddy double towers with a table top from Hinterberg, and I was willing to pay for it. What I wasn’t willing to do was pay them $250 to ship it over here. Sheesh. I realize it’s wood and all but, well, never mind. I wasn’t ready to spend $1,100 total on the thing.

A quick trip to Ikea (well, as quick as trips to Ikea ever are, which is to say, pack a lunch, you’ll be there a while…) produced something even better, quite perfect actually, for less than half the price:

Beading Table
Beading Table from Ikea


Three separate pieces: two bases on wheels with drawers (lots and LOTS of drawers!), and a tabletop, and I’m in business with plenty of space for all the little bits and bobs, beads and bangles, tools and fibers I’ve collected for a good part of my life. ITMan did have to do the “some assembly required” (more like “all assembly required” actually) but we’d have had to do that anyway with the pieces from Hinterberg. Get a load of these drawers:

Beading Table drawers
Drawers in the Beading Table from Ikea


Six drawers in each base, four shallow and two that are deeper. Awesome. And perfect. Did I mention this was perfect?!? And being less than half the price only adds to it’s perfection. It’s more than a “Beading Table,” it’s an Embellishment Station. So now I can go hide out in the relative coolness of the “Library,” or back room, or Little Studio, or whatever it is when it’s too hot in the Studio, and play with all the bits and bobs, beads and bangles, tools and fibers, and I can even close the door if the other residents of the house are gettin’ on my last nerve.

And the cats? Well, they’ve finally decided they’re well done and have had to remove to the floor in the studio for a break:

Getting out of the heat!

Quilting with K

Look who’s here:

Kimberly

Kimberly came to visit last week, and we had a blast! We quilted (a little), shopped (a bit), ate (lunch and pastries), and gabbed (a lot)! She brought me a pile of goodies:

the Goods

How cool! There’s Kimberly’s Easy Hearts cutting template, a nifty little rotary cutter to go with it, her Easy Star & Geese ruler, and a Simplicity apron pattern. How awesome is it that she has a Simplicity pattern with her name all over it?? And the best part:

More goodies

She brought me my very own copy of her book, Quilt a Travel Souvenir, and signed as well! I’m much more of an armchair traveler than most, and I really enjoyed reading about her European travel experiences that inspired the quilts in the book. It’s truly a beautiful book, with such creative, yummy quilts! I’ve already planned a quilt using the Easy Star & Geese Ruler, and the Easy Hearts template may have inspired something as well.

Kimberly and I have decided to make this quilt/eat/shop/gab thing a regular happening every couple of weeks or so. I don’t expect we’ll run out of things to talk about, that’s for sure! The problem might be actually getting anything quilting-related done while we’re together! Which isn’t really a problem, after all. ;) I’m sure Shadow will be pleased:

Kimberly & Shadow

What is it with this cat?? He totally charmed Kimberly, by only showing his cute, calm, lovable side while she was here. Everyone who visits thinks he’s just precious and such a good kitty! They obviously don’t know the real Shadow, since he’s always on his best behavior for guests. Sheesh. He did steal Kimberly’s chair the moment she got up, of course, but that only endeared him to her even more it seemed. Hmphf. I’m sure his true nature will out eventually! Patches played least in sight, being the big, fat chicken cat that he is. Maybe Kimberly will get to see him at some point after she’s come around a few times. He’s the true cute one, after all.

Kimberly treated me much too grandly while she was here, I must say! “Thank you” just doesn’t quite cover it! We had such a great time, and I can’t wait to do it again in a couple of weeks!

Black and White and Read…

I’m truly not doing much these last couple of days except watching the packers stuff all of our things into boxes, and wishing that it was over and I was back to quilting in my new studio. IOW, nothing much quilting related to discuss, unless you count dreams, and I’m so tired and preoccupied that I don’t remember those anyway. I did work on these Inchies on my birthday though, just like I wanted to do.

In my head, these are the “Music Inchies” because the fabric has instruments and music notes on it, but I suppose they’ve now become just black and white after cutting them up, with a little red, grey and slate blue in the mix. The Inchies here are half of three sets of twelve, one for each of my musical girls, and one for myself. I probably won’t finish up the other 18 Inchies in these sets until after the move at this point.

The packers have packed nearly all of three of the four floors in the house, so all there is for us to do is climb over boxes, surf on the Internet, or read. We’re surrounded by cardboard. They’re coming back tomorrow for another go, to pack up the kitchen and finish in the basement room where most of my quilting stuff is, along with the computers and such. Not that I’m letting them pack my computer; that goes in my car thank you very much.

So mostly what I’ve been doing is reading books. Lots of books. And trying to keep the cats from being too stressed out, but Patches is having a calicivirus outbreak anyway. Calicivirus in cats is very like herpes and cold sores in humans; when there’s too much stress, the immune system weakens and sores appear. He has sores in his mouth now, but so far they don’t appear to be affecting him too much or causing him so much pain that he can’t eat.

So, I’m off to read and think about quilting even though I can’t do it right now!

A Series of Unrelated Rants

Why?? Because that’s what I’m feeling like today. And these probably have nothing to do with quilting, unfortunately. I’d even be happy to be working on some quilting project that wasn’t going well, as opposed to not quilting at all, which is how it is right now. Anyway,

Rant #1: Six weeks ago or so, in preparation for the move, ITMan cleaned out the storage room. Um, let me rephrase that so that it actually fits with reality: Six weeks ago, in preparation for the move, ITMan was supposed to have cleaned out the storage room. Okay, that’s better. I had planned to be around for this big event which was likely to take the better part of two days, because I knew there was stuff in there that I would need to a) prompt him to GET RID OF, and/or b) look through myself and decide what to do with it.

Somehow I wasn’t around for a good portion of that first day, though I have no idea why at this point. When I came home and he said he was done ( :? ) with the whole storage room project and he’d cleaned out and gotten rid of everything that needed to go, I was very skeptical, especially when the only things that needed my attention and decision making abilities were two little bags of stray Christmas decorations that he didn’t know what to do with for some reason.

Even under close, repeated questioning, he swore that the job was done. Flash forward to last Saturday. He went into the storage room to locate the old ceiling lamp that was hanging in the dining room when we moved in, so that we can replace it and take the one we installed with us when we move. He didn’t even think it was in there, though I KNEW it was, and I couldn’t understand why he was so confused about it since he’d just been in there a few weeks before cleaning and sorting, right?

Right. He starts pulling stuff out to try to find the lamp, and I start seeing things that shouldn’t even still be here. Many, many things, all of which should have gone bye-bye six weeks ago when he supposedly cleaned the storage room out. Two SUV loads left the house yesterday, most of which was from the storage room, and we only got through half of it. What exactly did he do six weeks ago? Got me! Continue reading