A View of My Quilt Life

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Summer of Projects - The Beginning

The Summer of (oh, So Many) Projects!
Let's jump to the Michigan House. Or what I somewhat fondly refer to as the Mother Lode of all of the 2020 Projects on my plate.

The Michigan House was put in it's place in 1983. Thirty-seven years ago we walked thru the front door for the very first time. Some things have changed over the intervening years - like the chocolate brown sculpted loop wall to wall to wall to wall carpeting getting ripped out & replaced, mostly by 16" square ceramic tile - and some things were stuck in the past.

Project #1 - the ceilings. All the ceilings in the house are acoustical panels and hadn't been touched since installed at the factory.  We had a few water spots show up, which were addressed but nothing else had been done. My priority was to paint every inch of ceiling in the whole house! All 1425 square feet of the house ceilings. 

W and I grabbed two cans of regular Behr ceiling paint to get me started, along with gathering a few other supplies and off I went. In order to paint ceilings, one must move a few things out of the way. Like 20+ artificial silk plants & flower arrangements. UGH! I HATE those things. And yes, I can say that  with some authority, as I spent 17 years working in the floral industry. 
They are nothing more than dust catchers in this house & they were banished to the garage. The only reason they didn't go straight into the garbage bin is that we don't have trash removal service out there since we're not out there year round. A friend let's us drop of any trash we have at her house. The haul of silk arrangements would have filled her bins 4 times! 
The Great Room Before

Next, the two area rugs needed to go - out the door! Simply rolling them up would have meant shifting them around and I wanted a clear path. And they wanted a good washing & airing. And then ultimately replacing, when I got into a complete snit over them. 

Back to painting. I started on the hallway ceiling (on the left in the picture below) on a Friday night after work. Can I just say right here what a blessing it is that I can work remote where ever I have Wi-Fi?! Anyway, here is the first of many square feet of ceiling. 
The First Night of Painting
The interesting thing I noted was that the ceiling sucked up paint faster than I could roll it on. Hmm, at this rate, I was going to need to readjust the coverage estimate. 

And upgrade to the Behr Ultra Paint & Primer in One ceiling paint. 

And plan on two coats. On. All. The. Ceilings. 

I didn't mind the cost of the paint, though needing 7 gallons to complete the project does give one a bit of a pang in the wallet. The time needed to roll two full coats, with drying time in between, was unexpected. There's the whole shift the furniture, cover everything in plastic, refill the paint tray, refill it again, open yet another can of paint time suck that really adds up. Not to mention that I couldn't get a handle on the coverage rate and the fact that the nearest Home Depot is 25 miles away and it's the middle of a pandemic. And yes, I was doing this in the evenings and on weekends, in the mornings before work and at lunch time. 

Odie was with me every step of the way, rolling the open expanse and as I went up & down the ladder cutting in the edges. He only got 1 spot of paint on him! He was a great helper, staying well out of the way. 

I did have another helper for a day. W came out over a weekend to paint along the center beam of the vaulted great room. No way was I going to even try tackle cutting in those edges at that height on a ladder, by myself in the house. Totally not safe! Besides, I'm 5' 2" short and he is 6' 4" tall. Do the math! It was a no-brainer.  It took him less than an hour to do what I couldn't reach, with minimal effort. The rest of the time, he tackled a few other odd jobs that made good use of his height, strength and talent!  I made him a steak dinner with pie & ice cream for dessert! 

Here is the great room during it's 2020 facelift, with most of the painting done. Look at the light, bright, clean look!! Odie was happy that the plastic tarps had left the building.  
The smaller green rug made it back inside...briefly!
The adventure continues..

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Let's Do the Time Warp!

I promised you I had a lot to blog about but it's not going to be chronological order! We are going to jump around like nobody's business.
Well, why not!
Let's jump back to June 2nd when I left you with a teaser on the next round of my Unity quilt - Pinwheel Stars!

I used both navy & cream for the background pieces, which created an entirely unexpected secondary pattern. Not what I was expecting but hey, what the heck, let's roll with it. I sure as heck wasn't remaking all the stars and I didn't have enough cream to even consider that option. The cream fabric shortage is the reason I used the navy in the first place.
So okay, onward!
Make a bunch of them. Lay them out. See what you have.
So, do  you see the stars or the secondary pattern that's emerging? Let's make all of them & lay all of them out.
Now the stars seem to become the background and the background pieces emerge as the design. Interesting. 
Okay - now attach them to something and see what happens.
Two sides on. And then the other two sides. I like the way this round looks like a rope twist.
I like it even better with the narrow border added to frame the Pinwheel Star blocks.
The original design had a round that was only applied to the two ends, turning the design into a rectangle quilt instead of a square.  Spoiler Alert - I didn't do that. I kept the my quilt layout a square.
Next time - The final round. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Juggling July!

Hard to think that more than half the year is in the rearview mirror! July has provided some interesting challenges, not the least of which is my dad currently in ICU, with COVID-19 Pneumonia. He's been in there since June 30th and is stable, while we're taking things one day at a time.

We had been taking every precaution but this virus is unstoppable and does not discriminate in it's victims. Part of the precautions for my folks was that they were NOT allowed to go out to the Michigan House. Simply out of the question!  At the beginning of all the shutdowns and all of April, no one went anywhere. The problem is that you can't ignore a property. The Michigan House needed to be checked on & opened up. Not to mention grass, weeds, bushes and trees don't stop growing, while leaves need raking.

After much discussion with my DH, W, it was decided that I could go out at the beginning of May a full month later than the usual opening date. I filled up my gas tank at home, loaded every supply I needed from food & beverage to cleaning supplies and tools and set off.  The main parameter was 'No Contact, No Impact', which meant I had no contact with persons or equipment and I did not impact any of the local resources. No gas stations, no neighbors, no grocery stores - nothing. And it worked!

Thankfully, the house was fine and the Spring opening went well, even if I did it all myself. I stayed a few days doing the basics. But houses being houses, it needed some extra attention. If 2020 wasn't going to be summer of dog shows, road trips and fairs, it can dang well can be the summer of projects! 

I've made a few trips back, working remotely for my day job with some required weird hours, and working every spare minute - mornings, lunch hours, evenings & weekends on the house.  Items are getting checked off, as more items are added! It's the proverbial, self-perpetuating project list! Most of them, I've done myself but a few required W's help out here. 

I'll be sharing some project pics in upcoming posts but one of the proudest moments was the refurbishment of this old house sign. It was bought and hung on the house 36 years ago. 

W took it down from the peak, sanded off years of weather beaten wear, and replaced the hardware. I repainted and refinished it. Together, we rehung it in a new place on honor. Going forward, it will be spending the winters tucked away indoors!

I like to think the old sign getting a facelift and a place of honor, is particularly fitting as the house gets some needed attention, inside & out. 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Sunday, Fun Day!

Hi Everyone!

Soooooo much has been going on behind the scenes, even a bit of stitching but mostly a LOT of work, projects and chores. But yesterday was MY day. My day to relax. A WHOLE day to myself - no work, no chores, no timeline! 

And the first thing I did in the morning was to open a special delivery box.

It wasn't empty of course but the contents needed sorting and cleaning.

And resulted in pile of leather straps drying on several towels!! Actually it's a mix of biothane (pvc coated polyester webbing) and leather, with several stainless steel buckles and a few rings thrown in for good measure. 

What this really is, is a future adventure in horse training. More specifically, my goal is to train Stormy to drive. Him pulling a cart is a long way off but we can't start the journey without taking the first step. Literally, we both will be walking miles on the ground - just like this. 
P ground driving her Morgan mare B
And that required the purchase of a harness that would fit him and not break the budget. Luckily, many years ago, Shipshewana Harness landed on my radar, as a great resource.  It's located in LaGrange county, Indiana but supplies the needs of horses & horse harness across the country in sizes from miniature horse to the largest draft horse.  

As is happens, LaGrange county is home to many Amish communities who require harness for their everyday driving horses.  My new harness is actually used, thoroughly checked and in great condition. It was traded in on the purchase of a new harness and was waiting for someone looking for a secondhand set. That was me! 

With the help of Bob & Brody, owner & harness maker respectively, who patiently answered all my questions and my friend P, who helped me carefully measure a thoroughly bored Stormy, it was determines that this rig would work.  Even better is that any necessary adjustments could be easily made by Brody. and of course, they are happy to help with the addition of any custom bling I may be dreaming of. 

In these stressful times, when 2020 is not the year/Summer that anyone had planned, it's good to look further down the road and start on a future adventure now. Change the Plan, not the Goal!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Full Steam Ahead into June

Hard to believe it's already June! So much has been going on the last few weeks but not a lot of impulsion to post. Well, let's get busy & see where I left off on my Unity quilt. The round of shining little stars was the last picture I shared. 

The next round was a stop border of turquoise solid batik, before a round of blocks. 

The block were pinwheel stars. 

You may notice that I used both navy & cream for the 'background' triangles. This ended up creating an interesting secondary pattern that I wasn't expecting and it diffused the effect of the pinwheels stars. I'll show that round next time.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Little Stars Shine!

Ever onward with the Unity quilt! The big dahlia quilt sandwich has no progress  - it's just sitting in the corner waiting on me to get back to it. And it's going to have to sit there a bit longer. I was behind in keeping up with the Unity quilt parts so my free time focus has been stitching pieces into parts. 

These parts become stars. All except for one block, that is. One of these is NOT like the others! 

It was the second to last one I stitched up. Thankfully! Happily, it was only one block that had to be unsewn. 
Love these small little shining stars! And the stars joined together into orderly rows.
Couple of slightly wonky edges but those will be hidden in the seams. And the rows where attached to the quilt center.

Getting there!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

How Could it be Thursday Already?

Time seems to have a mind of it's own these days and it's making me a bit nuts. I mean, Thursday already - How?? I've been trying to write this post since Monday and it's now Thursday?
Time Warp. It must be some kind of Time Warp. 
Anyway, on to some PROGRESS!!


Became this.

I LOVE the turquoise stop border!  But I have a confession. It was a design choice made in part because I am short on the cream fabric. I was using one constant fabric per color in this quilt. That may change. 
Okay, so it did already but you're going to have to wait to see what happened.  

Now, you may be saying, "That's It??? She sewed on four narrow strips with cornerstones & we're supposed to be excited?" I know that may not seem like much but I've spent a bit of time cutting pieces and drawing diagonal line behind the scenes and no, there aren't any interesting pictures of that to share. Trust me. They don't exist.

But I will share what I did with some of those new pieces.
More coming!