A View of My Quilt Life

Monday, August 13, 2018


Switching things around, around here.
I went from this

to this.

This is the DH's 2017 van. It has fewer bells and whistles that the wine van, which sparked a bit of jealousy in DH. I don't need bells, whistles and back up camera doodads. That, coupled with that fact I'm going to racking up some miles here, there and everywhere, it made more sense to just switch vans.  

Except it's grey.  Dark grey. With a black interior.

Too boring and too dark. I plan on adding color to the inside.   I dislike the normal seat covers available to buy. They are stretchy, nylon, polyester, icky fabric.  Only slightly worse than the seats themselves. 

The only thing to do is to make some myself and of course, I needed to get fabric to do that. YAY!! And excuse for shopping - with a coupon, of course and sale fabrics. I wanted something fun, bright and turquoise. 

I found this great outdoor fabric for the front seats, since they will get sun.

Don't you just love it?  The pattern is large, not super busy and fun. The middle seats will spend a lot of time stowed away so I don't have a plan for them yet.  I need to figure out how to design them and allow the seats to fold down into the floor.  The back 60/40 split seat should be easier to figure out but still folds away.  Rather then use the same palm fabric, I opted for a plain turquoise canvas duck. 

I found some bath rugs to put under Odie's crate and/or in front of the middle seats, to add extra color.
It's brighter in real life.

Oh - and the majority of the miles I'll be racking up will be from my daily commute to my new job!  I started last Tuesday. So far, so good.  It's a change that will take some time to adjust to - time, schedule, tasks, errands, etc. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Garden Project: Step Three - Relocation

In my previous post, I talked about relocating this daylilies and hostas to make way for the raised beds and new perennials and grasses. But I never showed you where they went. 

Outside the fence!  In a mud space/nasty ground cover area created by the removal of two trees over the past 10 years by the HOA. 

The clumps of daylilies were a challenge to dig out as they were up against the fence and could only be dug on 3 sides. I spread them out in the new area to give them plenty of room to multiply.  

Half of the daylilies relocated
I was convinced they would not bloom this year, given the move and the excessive heat during the first couple of weeks. But they did.

The hostas had been happily growing in the garden for about 10-12 years, with only a little setback from harsh winter weather.  One green hosta clump I dug up was divided into FIVE new clumps.   They did suffer some heat and transplant stress but I know they will be fine over time.

The variegated hostas were only marginally newer to the garden and yielded ten good size transplants that I did not subdivide.  I thought I had taken pictures of them but I can't seem to find them at the moment.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Garden Project: Step Two - Planting the Raised Beds

Now that we had new raised beds, totaling 20 feet in length, ready to go, the planting could commence!

Perennials and ornamental grasses, some native prairie varieties, would be the primary focus of the garden going forward. 

Left Bed

Center Bed

Right Bed
These pics were taken June 6th - right at planting time. I planned space at the front of the beds for a few annuals to be added each year. You can just see the verbena on the left side of the picture above.

Below are pictures of the raised beds taken July 14th.

I had added in a few more perennials and annuals, along with some rocks and metal sculpture to the garden by then. Quite a difference! Still to go - the garden formerly known as the Hosta Garden.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Garden Project: Step One - Removing Daylilies and Building Beds

Early this spring, DH was watching one of those 'consumers gotta have this new product' shows.  The item that caught his eye this time was a raised garden bed starter kit. Basically, plastic corners into which you insert boards to create the framework of a raised bed.  DH had grown tired of our tired looking backyard with overgrown hostas and the floppy leaves of the daylilies. 

The Hosta Bed

To him, it was messy looking. To me, it was easy gardening and an unfortunate reminder that the hostas should have been divided at least 3 years ago. 

Okay - so we had a Spring Project at the ready. We just had to wait for the Ides of May and the blasted rain to stop.  In the meantime, we picked up the fancy corner things and, in a stroke of brilliance, composite deck boards to use instead of treated lumber. 

Supplies laid in, a loose plan for the plants and the corner things stood at the ready for our new raised beds along the back fence line.  The rain kind of stopped, but not really.  The May temps soared into the 90's!  Crap!  Oh, and the DH was suddenly busy elsewhere.  His sum total of this joint project was to cut the boards to length and slide them into the corners.  

Kind of Level
It was my job to dig out the daylilies, level the frames on the site and fill the new beds with organic material. Granted, we both picked out plants for the beds - perennials and ornamental grasses, for the most part, with a few annuals for more color and texture.  I was to be responsible for the actual planting, mulching and care. 

The raised beds are on two different levels, with the center section at eight feet long and six inches high. The two end sections are six feet long and a foot high.  In case you are wondering, YES, that's a lot of space to fill by hand with organic material!
A variety of soils and fill
Ready for planting!
By the time I got them to this point, it was 11 am and way to hot to even think about planting.  

Review of the plastic corner things - meh. They are not as rugged as I had hoped; a few of the flanges snapped off as DH was assembling the beds.  Had I done some additional research, I would have found concrete ones available and advocated for those.  On the other hand the composite decking boards worked great! 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

I'm trying to be better about getting back into the regular blogging schedule.  My goal this week was to post on Tuesday & Thursday.  If you tuned into your reading list or came directly to my blog, you noticed a new post was not, well, posted. 

Life was pretty intensely, roller coaster-y this week, with some awesome news.  

On Tuesday, I interviewed at a company (let's call them BHI) I worked for back in 2014, as a contractor.  Fast forward, and I was interviewing again for a contract position there, though in a much different department.  The goal was to get in the door, wow them, pray the position goes permanent and have it offered to me. The interview schedule was from 2:30 until 4:30 pm.  I didn't leave there until 6:00 pm. Obviously, I hit it off with the 3 principals. 

On Wednesday, I interviewed for a full time position at a well respected company (let's call them WK) in a industry in which I have no previous experience. Not that it matters, as my skills are transferable and I would be working for 4 principals, whom I connected fairly well with during the meetings. 

Oh, and on Tuesday, I also had a phone screening interview for a different & full time permanent position at BHI.  ARGH!!  While I passed the phone screen, I knew that there was a chance these face to face interviews would come after I received an offer from either of the two above opportunities. 

It's amazing to me that while I've been job hunting/applying like crazy to everything that remotely interested me, nothing, nothing, nothing and then BAM!!  I'm a hot commodity. Go Figure!

Here's the kicker this week and where the wheels came off the truck.  Just about literally!  I embarked for the Wednesday meetings, happily listening to an audio book, rolling in my beloved Element. 

For exactly 30 seconds. 

There was a cluuunnkkkk, then a metallic scraaaaaaaaappppe, and then no power steering, though I had power.

I manhandled the truck thru a turn around, called DH to bring his keys down so I could commandeer his van, and told him to call the boys (our beloved mechanics) to come tow the Element. 
R.I.P. Beloved Honda Element
I called the shop before the interviews started but they hadn't had a chance to even crack open the hood yet. okay. By the time I finished the meetings, they had news for me. 

Not good news.

The water pump exploded.

Decision time! Yes, I knew the Element was getting up there at 14 years old. Yes, I knew that 275,899 miles was a good long time. Yes, I knew I'd eventually have to find a replacement vehicle.  I just chose not to face that reality until I was absolutely had to face it.

Well folks, things got real in a hurry! I could no longer put off what I knew was going to be really, really painful. The worst part is that Honda has not re-released the Element so I couldn't just run down to the Honda dealer & pick one in a color I liked. 
That meant I had to hunker down & research makes & models in one evening, in order to start the test drive & shopping yesterday. We have activities this weekend in 2 different directions & 1 vehicle wasn't going to cut it.  And renting a car for a week while I decided was just going to dent the budget unnecessarily. Can we say crunch time?

I borrowed DH's van, leaving him at home so I could traverse the dealers, sorting out facts from emotions.  Yeah - good thing I was alone.  The vehicle that was at the top of my possibilities crashed to the bottom once I experienced it first hand.  The stretch vehicle ended up staying beyond my grasp. 

The vehicle I swore I didn't want, is now residing in our driveway. 
Never even test drove it  - it's the same as DH's, one year newer and in a prettier color.  I'm back up running and ready to roll on down the road. And just in time!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Handstitching Project ... Leather?

I do LOVE a challenge!  As someone who loves customized things and hates to pay hard earned money for custom things, I've learned to do many things myself. 

One of my recent projects involved leather. Blue leather.  It all started with this pretty sparkly browband for my dressage bridle. what girl doesn't like a little bling every once in a while?!

It got me to thinking. A very dangerous activity, I know but it happens - a lot! If only I could find a blue leather lined noseband to balance out the browband.  I guarantee you that a blue noseband is NOT a stock item.  What to do, what to do...

Hunt the tack sales, that's what!  And I did, finding a barely used padded bridle, which yielded the noseband below.

Thinking I could have a master saddlery do the customizing, off I went to a local tack shop to get a quote.  What I got was some good advice and help instead. Even better!!

It would be cheaper for me to pick out (unsewing!!) the stitches holding the white padding to the noseband. 
See those 2 rows of tiny, tiny stitches?!

Once that was done, Bob the Master Saddler and I determined that if he tried to do the restitching by machine it would end in disaster.  His machine would not be able to exactly line up with the stitching holes and would end up shredding the noseband. Not going to work.  We decided the best thing would be for me to tackle it myself, by hand.

Okay. Why not? I had little to lose at this point.  Bob helped by giving me some of his thread, needles and a plan of attack.
Some patience, two pairs of needle nose pliers, a few extra machine leather needles to act as a leather punch, a touch of contact cement and I was ready to give it a shot!  As for the blue leather, I had picked up some thin blue leather scraps at the Renaissance Faire late last summer.  I didn't have the browband with me to match it but they turned out to be a very, very close match. A few hours later, I had the new bridle almost done.

Still some stitching to finish at this point

It was a test of my hand stitching skills and it was so very worth it.  

I've been using this new bridle at horse shows this summer, including the one coming up this weekend.

Hope the weather cooperates!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Happy 1st Birthday!!

This little dog

turns one year old today.

Almost, but not quite all grown up.

Last week, Odie measured 18.5 inches at the withers and weighed in at 46 lbs.  He has garnered 3 points towards his AKC championship since April, in limited showing.  Next week, Odie starts his first Obedience class.  That should prove to be interesting. While he works off hand signals, he also gets strong and likes to pull when on lead.

Last night, Odie was snoozing at my feet while I typed this post.  He is my constant companion, my pride and joy, my funny, silly puppy, who reminds me to not take life too seriously.  And Odie is a pretty good Studio Dog!