Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Funny

This is the wall at the other end of the big tub in my master bathroom. Instead of a quilt I thought it would be fun to hang my colorful purses.

I've been trying to clean up the garden, collecting the leaves and otherwise putting the garden to bed. I have been spending inside time reading. I'll be back to sewing soon!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

On the Home Front

My house is on a hill, so from my living room and studio I can see the roofs of my neighbors on the hill below me. It means I have an unobstructed view and I get great light.

It's magic when it looks like this.

I'm almost finished setting up the house. The master bedroom and master bathroom are finished, as is the guest bath. The kitchen is all organized as is the dining room and the china cabinet. All my dishes and serving dishes are put away and organized. I've got a lot of my artwork and quilts hung up on display.

I still need to hang the flannel on the design wall, and hang things on my "Inspiration" walls - the photos and notecards from friends, the things that make me smile, and the things that inspire me.

The office floor is finally clear of junk, and a lot of paperwork has been sorted and shredded. I need to sort and file a big stack or receipts, but that's a job I'll do this weekend, when I can sit in that room when it is full of daylight, and I have no time restraints.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall House Top Block #3

Here's yesterday's block. I might have made another, but I did the usual weekend chores instead.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Autumn House Top Block #2

Remember the Christmas Random Plank quilt I made two years ago?  In the end, I decided it would be a table topper.

Well, in my family I cook Thanksgiving Dinner. When my Mother had her 75th birthday I decided it was time to relieve her of the burden of cooking the big bird, so I've hosted the dinner ever since. This year it will be a large family gathering, and my big dining room table will be expanded to its full length - 108 inches. I liked the Christmas Random Plank table topper so much I decided I had to make one for autumn, and for the Thanksgiving table in particular.

Moving to the new house put a real kink in the plans, but if I make one block a day there's a real chance I can have a flimsy by the big day. The design was finalized during a conversation with my pal Julie the other night. I did NOT want to make another Random Plank, for two reasons.

  1. Been there, done that.
  2. A flimsy built that way is very difficult to manage. It's big and unwieldy, and no fun to wrestle with day after day.

I considered doing a "Missing U" version, but again, been there, done that. Julie suggested an oversized House Top version of a quarter log cabin block. We measured the table full size, and I'll need 18 18-inch blocks. The flimsy would be about 54 x 108 inches.  I want to use fabric I already have, and I want to have a little fun with the blocks. The block in the photo above is block # 2, and I'm happy with it. Although the first two blocks use the same fabric in the first square, the blocks won't all use that same fabric. I'll keep the same general color and tone, but there will be variations. This is a scrap quilt, after all. The only constant is the fabrics are the colors of Autumn in New England: greens, golds, reds, oranges and browns.

***update: Holy Toledo! This is this blog's 1500th post!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Finally.... Sewing!!!

Finally, after weeks of unpacking and organizing, I got some serious sewing done. This block is about 19" square, and is the first of 18.  The theme of this quilt is "Autumn."

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pink Letters

I think the letters look great in pink. I am hoping to be able to hang them up on the house this weekend (when it stops raining!)  When my dad and I were hanging the homosote on the walls in the studio last weekend he asked me, "So, have you painted the front door yet?"  He laughed while he said it, because he knew perfectly well I'd been too busy to do it.

btw, today is my 26th anniversary of working at my company! Wow!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

No Place Like Home

There's no place like home, especially when it's filled with pictures of those you love.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Studio and Sewing Update!

On Sunday my dad and I hung the homosote pieces to the walls in my studio. This is where my design wall will be, and what's really nice about it is that no only will it be a flannel design wall, but I'll be able to attach things to it with push pins as well. You all know how sometimes it can be tricky to get large pieces to stay up on a design wall by themselves.

It was a messy day, bringing the pieces outside to be cut to size, then carrying them back inside and attaching them to the walls. It was messy because I had to move everything around, and then move it back in place.  More on that later, but look, I sewed the binding on two sides of the Life is 'Tweet quilt!  Woo hoo!  I did that while sitting on the couch "watching" tv with Millie purring beside me. Life doesn't get much better than that.

* update: Pat, the design wall is 64" wide by about 84" tall.

Monday, October 20, 2014


The master bath in the new house is my least favorite room.  It's got a big jacuzzi tub in the middle, surrounded by fake marble and carpet, and is open to the bedroom itself. If that's not bad enough, there is no traditional medicine cabinet and storage in the so-called vanity is meager at best. Instead there is a wall with built-in shelves, and they are equally homely.

I hate having all that stuff on display, and wondered what I could do about it. I need the shelves, so I couldn't get rid of them.

The solution came to me as soon as I asked myself the right question.

"Can I cover it up?"

Hell yeah!!! The quilt is hanging on a curtain rod that's well secured. I can lift the quilt to access the shelves and stuff behind it, yet not have to worry about the quilt falling down or into the tub in case I ever decide to use the thing.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Of Pink Letters, No Squeaks and Leaf Blowing

I painted the first coat of pink on the sign letters. As you can see, the letters from the sign aren't without wear. They are old and I have to be careful when I handle them.

Got the L done.

I think these will look great.  I hope these don't need THREE coats, but if that's what they need, then that's what I'll do.

I'm hoping to sit and sew a bit tomorrow. I deserve a bit of a break. I've sorted out the last of the bins, organized the closet in the bathroom and put away all the tools and cleaning supplies. I've also oiled all the squeaky hinges all around the house.

Yesterday's big task was cleaning the leaves out of the gutters.  Wet leaves clog gutters, and then wreak havoc on your roof if allowed to stay.  So I got out the ladder and the leaf blower and blew the leaves out of the gutters alongside the house. The blower could clear out about four or five feet of the gutter, then I'd have to move the ladder, climb up again, blow the leaves out, and then do that all around the house. To say I'm a bit sore is an understatement. I loved the leaf blower. Watching it blow leaves wherever I wanted them to go, I couldn't help but think how much fun it was to use.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Not only did I NOT get any sewing done whatsoever last night, I spent the evening choosing photos to order from my son's wedding. This was one of them.

 Gosh, my son looks like an old-time movie star in this one!

This is probably my all-time favorite. Talk about attitude!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Little Distraction

I've got the binding for Life is 'Tweet sewn on, folded over and pinned. Now I can do the hand sewing while I "watch" TV. 

But then I got distracted. My son and his wife sent me the link to their wedding photographs. So, I, um, got nothing else done the rest of the evening and went to bed late.

(It also means I went to bed happy.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Binding for Life Is 'Tweet!

 I worked all Sunday afternoon on the pieced binding for Life is 'Tweet.

This is kinda, sorta what it's going to look like. I wanted the pieces of color to be of varying sizes and irregularly placed.

Only to realize that I couldn't sew it to the quilt until I made the hanging sleeve.

I pulled this greenish teal paisley from my stash and made the sleeve last night.

I stitched the binding to one side, then it was time for bed.

*Regular readers know that I do my final hand-stitching on the front of my quilts. You can read the story about how this came to be, here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Studio Takes Shape!

I moved the worktables around in my new sewing studio and it works much better.

I bought a rug mat from the big box office supply store, and it works perfectly.
 Here's a view of the work area.

From the sewing machine, I can look over to the ironing table.

Turning to the left, I can see the tv and my stash.

Still moving to the left, you can see where the design wall will go, and in the foreground you can see my small worktable.

 Looking up from the small worktable, I can see Millie on her kitty condo, and the landscape behind the house.
 My sister has been storing this wing chair I bought from a used furniture store this summer. She and my nephew brought it by yesterday. It is placed so I can have a nice comfy place to sit to study the design wall, read a book, think or watch TV.  It will also be a good place for a guest to sit while visiting.

I had to do some sewing, and made this block.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Letters in 3-D

I don't know how many of you remember this photo from a post back in March of this year.

How many of you noticed the blue letters, L and T, on the wall on the left? Did any of you make the connection with my initials ("Lynne" and "Tyler")?  And if you got that far, did you think, "OMG, what an egotist?"

Well, that's not it.  Let me tell you the story.

I started working for the Felton Brush Company almost 26 years ago.  When I started, the company was located in an old mill building. The building was well over 100 years old, and over time it got to be too expensive to maintain, so in 1998, the company decided to build a new building in a different location. The old building would be demolished.

Since Felton had been in that building over fifty years, the owners knew the workers would have a lot of emotional ties with the building. They asked the workers what we wanted. Almost all of us had the same answer: "We want a picture of everybody in front of the building."

So one autumn day a professional photographer came by and organized the photo shoot that led to the photo below.  The photographer was high on a stepladder across the street to get the photo.

I'm standing in front of the building. (There are about fifteen of us in the photo who are still with the company today.)

The new building was built over the winter, and we moved in one weekend in March of 1999.  The manufacturing departments had moved into the new building, and the offices would be packing up on Friday. The riggers would move everything on Saturday. On Sunday we were paid to go to the new building and set up our work areas. We'd start business in the new building on Monday.

On Thursday, the president of the company asked me, "Lynne, would you like a brick from the building as a souvenir?"

"I don't want a brick. A brick is dumb."

He laughed. I was well known for my frankness. "Well think of something. You can have whatever you want."

I couldn't think of anything.

The next day, I was driving up the street, and I looked at the building. An idea popped into my head. I knew just what I wanted.

I walked directly to the president's office. I didn't even stop by my work area or take off my coat. "You said I could have ANYTHING?" I asked.

"Name it."

"Can I have the letter L from the sign?"

"It's yours."

Two days later I walked into my new workspace in the new building to find not just the L from the sign, but the T as well.  I brought them home, painted them a pretty blue and hung them up in my living room. When I paint my front door hot pink, I'll paint these two letters the same pink, and hang them on the porch wall.

There is a large copy of the photograph in our new building. When guests visit, they all ask about the photo. I tell the story about the letters. "Wow," my guests always say. "That's a great story."

I smile, and I agree.

And the letters are a LOT better than a brick.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Not Working

It's always so tricky to design a workspace on paper. It may look good, but you can forget your working patterns.  This layout looked okay, but it doesn't work for me at all. I work right to left, not left to right. What that means (for me) is this: I'm right handed, I don't like working across my body and my dominant hand (from right to left). It's awkward for me.

I've already figured out an alternative, but it was too late to rearrange the studio last night. I'll wrestle with it later this evening.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Getting There

Pat wanted to know if I had any plans for the big shelf along one wall of the studio.

I sure did!  Along the left side are all my son's children's books he received as gifts growing up.  The rest of it is taken up with bins of fabric I don't use much (solids!) and projects in various stages of abandonment (not really). And don't worry - see that "empty" wall to the right of the windows - I have plans for that too.

The design wall isn't up yet either, but I really want to work on "Life is 'Tweet" so I put it up where I could see it and it would make me think.

As for the questions asked over the last few days....

Wanda, Millie is adapting very well. She opens cabinets and sniffs what's inside. I come home and find cabinet doors ajar and drawers partially opened all over the house. She's climbed every place she can climb. She sleeps next to me at night, and when she decides she's had enough of that, she naps in the kitty condo in the studio, where she can survey the whole house.

Megan, Susan, Terri, and others, the movers will come collect all the empty boxes AND the giant pile of paper. They'll recycle everything. (It's one of the many reasons I chose them.)

Mary K, I don't know how much mojo I can lend you. My get-up-and-go has pretty much got-up-and-gone.  Fortunately Millie knows how to get me to relax. She comes over to me and MEOWS until I sit down and put my feet up. Then she sits beside me and demands to be petted. It's good for both of us.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Paper, Paper, Paper!

I used newsprint to wrap and cushion my belongings when I packed them for the move.

This is two reams of newsprint.

I used three reams of 24" x 30" newsprint. A ream is 500 sheets, each of which, when stacked (and unrolled), measured about 1-1/2" high.

The paper worked great. Nothing I packed was damaged at all. But 1,500 sheets of crumpled paper fill up a lot of garbage bags when you try to throw them away, so I got the bright idea of flattening them out to take up less space.

It sounded like a good idea at the time.  But by about Saturday afternoon, I almost cried every time I opened a box and pulled out the crumpled paper. It was one thing to pull the paper out. It was another thing to sit on the floor and flatten it out. 24" x 30" is big. To flatten it out I had to lean forward and sweep my arms in big circles across the paper. My shoulders, knees and back were aching, and I was taking pain killers every day.

So, WHY didn't I "take my time" instead of unpacking all the boxes between Thursday (moving day) and Sunday (I had to go back to work on Monday)?

Well, what ELSE was I going to do? I had been living with these boxes for four long weeks. I wanted my stuff. I wanted NORMAL.

So how big a stack is one thousand four hundred ninety-seven pieces of flattened out crumpled newsprint? (I had three sheets left over after packing everything.) It's bigger than you think.

I was kinda surprised.

Actually, I was VERY surprised.



wait for it...



ok, here's how big.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Hanging Quilts

Even before I emptied all the boxes I wanted to make the house feel like home so I hung up some quilts. It's so good to see them again.

Once again, Wanda Hansen's quilt occupies a place of honor in my living room. That's Tonya Ricucci's "Live, Love" quilt on the back wall of the living room.

I had wanted to hang the Too Much Chicken quilt on the wall in the dining room, but it was a bit too tall. I decided the two Rules quilts would look good instead. I had always intended them to hang side-by-side. They need to be moved apart a little bit, but that's an easy fix and I have a lot of other stuff to do.

There aren't a lot of big walls in this house suitable for hanging quilts, but I think where I hung "The Quick Brown Fox" was positively brilliant.

The wallpaper is covered in rabbits.

That's it for now. All the boxes (except three of small, framed artwork) have been unpacked and all the big things are in place. I organized my kitchen, pantry, dining room hutch, and bedroom. I still have to do the master bath, the office and studio. Then I need to clear the extra stuff that doesn't seem to have a home.  Wait until you see the pile of paper I have left over.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


This was the new sewing studio about 9:30 yesterday morning. I had to do something in the sewing studio, so I started putting my fabric in the bookcase. Then the ISP guy came to connect my TVs and internet. The modem is going in the studio, so I moved into the bedroom and put away all my clothes while he worked.

After he left, I continued working on the studio and tonight it looks like this.

The big pieces are in place, but I still have to work on a lot of the details. And I can't really sew until I get a big plastic mat for under my chair. The carpet is so soft and plush I can't roll the chair around. But that's a task for later.

The move went exceptionally well. I was literally all packed. It took the movers less than 90 minutes to load all my belongings into their truck, fifteen minutes to drive to the new place, and two hours to unload everything and place all the furniture.  To say I was pleased is an understatement. I was positively overjoyed.

I still have my kitchen, dining room and bathroom to unpack and organize. I did hang one quilt,
which visitors see when they enter. (this photo was taken from the bedroom.)

Here are another couple of views of the studio space. It's quite lovely in that I have room to move around.
 The design wall will be to the left of my stash. It will be about 64" wide. I also haven't hung up any of my tools and rulers yet.

It's hard to see in this photo, but my small cutting table is opposite my sewing machine, and the small ironing table makes the bottom of a U-shaped workspace.

When everything is in place, there should also be enough floor space in case I need to lay anything out, and a comfy chair for either sitting and reading, or contemplating.  As you can see there's a nice big TV so I can watch the tennis. I bought a second kitty condo for Millie so she can be with me when I am working. She can watch the bird, squirrel, chipmunk and wild turkeys that cavort in the woods behind the house.  I have a folding screen to block any direct sunlight onto my stash or to block the glare, if needed, as the room faces south. The light, even at night, is much better than in my previous studio, and I know I will enjoy working in this room.

It's almost perfect, but not quite!

Thursday, October 2, 2014


I don't always eat my dinner at the table. Since I live alone I often eat in the living room while watching TV. (So shoot me.) 

Years ago I went on a painted furniture kick, and you may have seen some pieces in my blog posts over the years.  I had painted two tv tables, and use them a lot, but they are always awkward. You have to have them oriented the right way, and your legs can get tangled up in them, which is really annoying.

I found this little "C-table" at The Container Store on sale. I though it would be just the thing for the new house, so I ordered a red one, then thought better of it, and ordered two.

They arrived last week, and I put them together today. They are absolutely PERFECT and I can see I will get a lot of use out of them.

Today is the M-word implementation. For the Millie-neophytes, that means it's Moving Day today. I've planned as best I can, and I've got everything packed and ready. Will it all go exactly as planned?  Maybe not, but it usually all works out. My only concern is getting Millie to eat the foods with the tranquilizers in them and that I can get her into the crate before the movers arrive.  After that, it'll be a piece of cake.

There won't be any internet access at the new house for a day or so, but as Ahh-nold once said, "I'll be Bahk!"

Stay tuned.