Monday, December 10, 2012

Design Walls...An Adventure!

Finally Papa Toad and I have figured it out...After trying to use the flannel backs of picnic table clothes, push pins in walls, trying to deal with slanted ceilings, portable "built it and move it" types and various coverings and surfaces, I'm in love!
Papa Toad remembered making some speaker covers at our church years and years and years ago and decided to go with that technique. The boards themselves are aluminum backed foam insulation boards that you find at any DIY place, like Home Depot or Lowe's. They come in 4x8' sheets and are easily cut to size. The next step was to take 1x2" boards and built a frame within the perimeter on the back using metal L brackets at the corners. This completed frame was then attached to the insulation with a hot glue gun. From the other side of the insulation, the "front" that will hold the designs, the frame is not visible.
Next I smeared a UHU glue stick all over the "front" and laid down Pellon Fleece, wrapped it around the sides and stapled it with my mighty staple gun (be careful!!) to the back of the frame. For the final covering I used a pale, pale, pale yellow (cream color) flannel. I find it easier to see true colors on an off-white, cream color than if I used a stark white. I cut lengths of the flannel and laid each one on the Pellon (no glue needed), stretched them taut around to the back of the frame and stapled again. I used the Pellon Fleece first so that I wouldn't see any insulation brand labeling through the flannel. It also adds a nice little bit of cushion to the boards. Here's what it looks like on the back side:

Up at the top you'll see some eye screws screwed into the wood frame to hang onto a hook:
 When we lived in Bend, OR our walls were less textured than they are in this house and we used 3M Command Strips on Quilt Hangers with great success. We decided to give those a try again with 3M hooks using their Command Strips......Hmmmm,

Up it went......3 weeks later it slid to the floor along with a couple other quilts I'd hung....too much wall texture. So, on to a another system. Hercules Hooks! Our new best friend!!!
They're awesome! The tall side has a sharp point that you pierce through your wall board and then slide it up behind the wall board. The only part that you see on the outside is the short little hook end that you can hang a picture or in our case, those eye screws on the back of the design wall. We used one on each top corner. Voila!
Kind of hard to see but it's there. We hung two 4x8' design walls vertically next to each other. "Comfort & Joy" is shown here straddling them:
And then I I did a redo on my first older 4x4' one. Here it is just waiting for something other than a calendar and pin cushion!
We use a Hercules Hook and the "Hang It, Dang It" quilt hanger rod wherever we hang a quilt on the wall. It is a fabulous and easy systerm that involves a 3/4" adjustable metal rod that slides into the quilt sleeve. Then a 3" bracket with a nail/screw hole is clamped in the center over the sleeve. By placing that clamp in the center, the quilt balances and levels itself on the Hercules Hook. Here's how it looks with Bunny Hill's "Rabbits Prefer Chocolate".
It's a great system with nothing showing except the quilt!

Till next time, Happy Designing! And Stitchin' for the Soul!



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Comfort and Joy...Caught Up!

I did it! At last I'm on schedule with Comfort and Joy! I finished the November tree block along with the first BOMs that the rest of the group had done before I got started after my move.
 The center of the quilt is complete, the inner border in place and the outer border fabric chosen.
Next: appliqueing this outer border....before Christmas? Hmmmmmm, we'll see. I need to complete a few gifties first. Did I just say a "few"? Such a joke! My list always seems to exceed the reality of my time line. I'm sure that none of you have that issue! I'm trying to prioritize a little so at the top of the list are 18" doll clothes for 2 of our munchkins with a couple matching outfits for them. We'll see how that goes! The good news is that the 140 Christmas (-er, Thanksgiving cards and letters) got made and mailed on time, 1/2 our family came for a grand brined turkey (Thanks, Pioneer Woman) on The Feast Day and the Friends' Reunion Dinner for 16 last Monday came off without a hitch. So now it's time for all out production! And decorating! (I already see my To Do List shrinking!!!)

Back at ya soon.....meanwhile I need to do some Stitchin' for My Soul!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wonder how I screwed up?

My apologies.....I had the 10/29 post scheduled to post a little after midnight on 10/29....I just noticed that it didn't........Hmmmmmmm......Guess you'll just have to read it now instead! sorry.....

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Tisket, A Tasket......I finished my basket!

Aaaahhhhh, I made it! It's been pretty frantic around here! Remember when I mentioned that my Mantra was "Rome wasn't built in a day?" Well, Yahoo! Rome's getting built!!! Amazing what can get accomplished with Papa Toad no longer on crutches! Quilts are getting too! The potting bench is in place, shed and fence doors are getting aligned, high ladder stuff is getting done, and things in our new location are getting figured out! And we have a rat in the garden I'm staying clear of that place and letting Papa Toad be the hero now that we have the birdseed in Ft. Knox. Who knew they chewed through rubber garbage cans!  I don't do rodents real well.
Meanwell, I finished the basket section of the "Comfort and Joy" BOM that Anne  moderates. I must admit that in spite of my lousy timing and joining this right when I moved, I've really enjoyed having to focus on something new....and Wool!....and the monthly deadlines have been a good discipline. I've had to up my drugs but other than that it's been fun! I finished the house, stocking, snowman, flag and gingerbread basket blocks and now I'm almost done stitching the angel, Santa and tree blocks (yes, the December tree block) so I'll be posting those soon.
Meanwhile I also got 2 "Happy Jacks" done, 1 for a friend hosting Bunco, and another for my daughter's classroom (she teaches a Grade 1/2 combination class in Canada).
I'd love to tell you who the designer is but the pattern seems to be missing right now.....maybe out Trick or Treating! It was fast and easy! The best part? These 2 wall hangings and all of the Comfort and Joy blocks have come out of my stash! And sadly there doesn't even seem to be a dent in the amount of fabric hanging out around here! Hmmmmmm, this could get embarrassing! Oh well, I'll get over it.
Gotta go for now, I need to go do some Stitchin' for my Soul! But I'll be back a little sooner and show you how Papa Toad hung my design walls. So stay tuned for "Anatomy of a Design Wall". Hint: Hercules Hooks.....I think I'm in love!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

"Speechless", aka, "Title-less"

     Now, THAT's new and different! Me....speechless! I sit here without a Title...for this Post, that is. I know I have plenty of titles for myself......Mama Toad, Hon, Grammy, Gramma, Mrs. H, Mrs. Hogie, CEO of my little company, Queen of Organization and Clutter, Chief of the Calendar, etc...... And usually I can come up with some pretty appropriate and fun titles for this blog. I get a title in my head and then a post happens. The same thing happens when I design a quilt....a title comes to me and then I design the quilt that "feels" like the title. Yes, weird, I know. But, I digress...nothing new there.... "Rambler" could be another of my titles!
     As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, "Comfort and Joy" is the BOM I decided to join, like a crazy fool, just before we moved back to California. I really don't care for tattoos, but I need to get "Just say No!" tattooed on my forehead and both hands to remind myself that I need limits! Regardless of good intentions and foolish overestimations of the number of hours in a day, I managed to complete the section that everyone else was working on this month:
     I love wool so all the applique is wool. I still have buttons to add and I think I'm adding "Time for Yummies" to that top strip right of the gingerboys, but I'm current! Well, at least for this month. I decided to play catch-up by getting all the piecing units made so then I could just plop them in place once the applique units were done. That's what you see on the right side. On the left you see part of next month's section. Although I really love hand stitching I made an executive decision, living up to my CEO title, that all the applique on this quilt would be done with the heavy blanket stitch on my Bernina. Time is of the essence! So, the catch-up is going well. Here are the appliques for Sections 1 & 2, minus button eyes and stars, that the rest of my BOM friends did months ago:
     Anne, of Cottons 'n Wool fame, has been our great Moderator and has kept the blog BOM on track. The goal was to get this done by Christmas and it looks like it'll happen for all the other members...maybe me too if I get that tattoo soon and don't start something else! But wait, Christmas is coming....and there's so many cute ideas I have for gifts.....
     A couple years ago I kept track of my "Yahoos for 2010." I felt that my UFOs had really gotten out of control.....projects that were calling me to not only finish, but to start! I made great progress that year. I feel "Yahoos for 2013" coming on......Time to bring 'em on!
     Update on our move:
On September 17, after 13 weeks, (make that THIRTEEN!) weeks, Papa Toad got the word that he could bear full weight on his foot and become Crutchless!!! Talk about a Yahoo! WooHoo! So now the man has been getting busy trying to figure out where I put everything....silly man thinks that I remember! So he's having a new adventure of finding things and unpacking a few boxes that I opened up, saw that he'd "packed" them and quickly decided to leave them for him to deal with. All in all it's going quite well. Moving back after 15 years to the area where we raised our kids makes us feel like we've come home....a really good feeling!
     Till next time, enjoy your home and go do some "Stitchin' for the Soul" while I go see about getting that tattoo!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Comfort & Joy...Kind of, Sort of, Not Exactly!

Warning: Lengthy Post ahead...Read with a Cup of Tea or Coffee in Hand, add Chocolate as needed!

Soooooo.....the moving saga continued with the arrival of The Best Moving Team in our moving history...and after 11 moves, we've had History! The Prestige Allied Moving Co. in Bend were "fantabulistic!" So on Monday, June 18, our house got emptied of all those boxes....our "stuff" weighed in at 22,000 lbs!
On Wednesday we headed south....Papa Toad drove the RV and towed the Escape and Mom and I followed in the was 33 degrees in Bend that morning! And for some reason, my heater decided not to work...and my sandaled tootsies couldn't wait to hit warmer California!
We arrived safe and sound, a day before the movers and were greeted by a house cleaner and carpet shampooers busy at work. We were having all of the interior repainted and since we'd closed on Monday, only the ceilings and closet interiors were able to get painted on Tuesday which meant that the walls and woodwork would all have to be done after we moved in....Joy! Oh, but the best was yet to come!
So, on Wednesday, June 21, the movers arrive and Papa Toad shows them around the house, which room is which and what goes where.....and he steps off the one and only little step into the garage (guess he didn't think they knew what the garage was!) and his foot lands wrong on a floor mat...and breaks his foot!!!  Yes folks, life changes in an instant! For the next 10 weeks he became "Crutch Man" and didn't even bother to get a Blue Cape to match...which would've helped him fly since he couldn't put any weight on it walking.
He chose blue...closest to denim! And the Hot Pink choice didn't really go with his personality!
Meanwhile, the 3 painters showed up the following we lived with "this" for 7 days:

Now you know the story...the next 10 weeks were filled were all kinds of adventures and I learned a lot of new skills and have a whole new set of muscles! My best girlfriend (sista) Sharyn came out from NC for the first 2 wks and we muscled nearly every piece of furniture and box in place, learned a lot about plumbing (after the 1st 10 days and all 3 toilets clogging 9 times, we, well, the plumber, replaced them with Totos!) and electricity and construction. Everytime I had an issue, I'd take a picture on my phone and ask Papa Toad what to do.

The best part of the move was being 2 1/2-3 hrs away from our son and his family and have them come visit our chaos for the 4th of July weekend. Having 4 1/2 year old Callie and 3 year old Josie actually playing in our home and yard was way toooooo awesome....even with all the boxes 1/2 opened! And then being able to babysit them for a week at the end of July was way too fun...exhausting, but fun!
Upward and onward. We've made some progress in getting settled. Here's our front door. I love the glass entry:

Here's just inside the front door....I think I like this setting...but I'm anxious to get a quilt hung there too.

The Dining Room is twice as big as the Bend house and I'm enjoying the additional space...empty walls again...(soon, Nadine, soon!)

The kitchen is coming along....I'll show you more on another day.

Aaaaah, and now, the Comfort part.....The Ark! Now, going from 400 sq ft to a regular "bedroom" space has been a bit of a challenge for this chick but I think I'm liking the restrictions. It's teaching me to put things away and keep it somewhat organized. I still have to figure what kind of storage to get in there but I know that will come. It's located right behind that entry setting wall I showed you earlier and right across from the Living/Family/Great Room area AND it has double GLASS doors...Soooooo, yes, it's all very visible. That's the scary part!

Oh look what's on the cutting table:
My copy of Silver Thimble Quilt Company's "Comfort and Joy" pattern all ready to go! 
Right before my move I decided to join a group of gals doing a BOM using this pattern and their stash. (I was experiencing temporary insanity at the time) My friend and former neighbor, Anne of Cottons 'n Wool Blogging fame is the moderator for the group. They post their blocks every month and it's fun seeing everyone's interpretation. So yesterday I decided it was time for me to do some "Stitchin' for the Soul!" Seriously, I hadn't turned on the machine since we got here, and my mental health, or lack thereof,  proved it! So, I found the appropriate bins of fabric and started to pull backgrounds and homespuns and wools, of course.

Time to pull the wool too!

Here's 1/2 of the stash closet....See all those project boxes? Yep, stuff that's ready to sew together or embroider or dare I say the F-word......FINISH! I told Papa Toad I'm terribly anxious to start un-crowding The Ark 1 yard and 1 project at a time! In his wisdom he just smiled and nodded his head.

Needless to say, things have progressed rather slowly. After I experienced my first Panic Attack I had to add a new Mantra for my life: "Rome wasn't built in a day!" Since my personality is one of "busy-ness" and loving it, I'm trying to learn how to relax again. For me that means a little (or a lot!) of sewing everyday. My whole self requires that...just ask Papa Toad. He'll be the first to agree...even after he already knows he owes me BIG TIME! I told him I was up to 2 cruises and 20 karets after this escapade.
Starting tomorrow he will be able to do 25% weight bearing, next week will be 50%, then in  FOUR MORE weeks he'll be 100%....that'll bring us up to a total of 14 weeks...........
Breathe in.....Breathe out....Breathe in.....Breathe out.....Breathe in......
Rome wasn't built in a day.
Think I better go do some Stitchin' for MY Soul....and find some Comfort & Joy!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Life in a Box (or a Zillion Boxes!)

     WooHoo, it's Moving Time! Yep, the time has come for Grammy and Papa to get closer to 2 of our 4 grandbabes...and to get some shorter winters than Central Oregon provides. We've been thinking about it for a couple years and when several factors seemed to be aligning, we decided to see if we could make it happen. We listed our home for sale in April. As soon as it was listed (and in the pristine "No One Really Lives Here" state of clean), we drove to Canada to visit our daughter and her family...that's one way to keep a house Picture Perfect!  When it sold 12 days later we knew we had to quickly find a house and begin the nightmare of packing! Off we went to Northern California to spend 3 days searching for a place to land.
     We decided to look around the area in the Sierra Foothills, east of Sacramento. We'd raised our family there before Papa Toad accepted a job in Ohio in 1997. By the week's end, we found a house that I Cameron Park, same place where we'd lived before. Except that I didn't take any pictures of it when we previewed it and since Papa Toad didn't think he liked it, I really don't remember all the details of some important rooms! Like where will The Ark be?????? Oh my, the adventure of it all!!!
     The movers arrive here's what The Ark looks like now:

Oh look, I can still see a drawer on my sewing cabinet!
The machines have been packed in their original Bernina boxes for a few weeks and I've had serious withdrawals ever since!

         Tomorrow we'll load the RV with all the "I don't want to pack that, let's just take it with us" stuff and tape up the final boxes. Those are the ones that are such fun to unpack! You know, those final boxes that hold all the last minute stuff you need to the bitter end. The Mystery Boxes....the ones you forget to label, or you're so DONE with the moving process that you don't care whether it's labeled or not! So there it is, the box that has everything from the sprinkler can you almost forgot to pack along with the bath mat and His favorite coffee mug to that stack of quilting/cooking magazines that you were going to go through and purge!
     This last stage of packing is soooooooooooooooo different than the beginning. In the beginning I vowed to really do a good job of labeling each box. I even thought that if I was very specific about where the contents had come from in the house that I'd really be able to have a photographic memory about what exactly I'd find in that box. I've never had a photographic memory in my life so why did I think I'd be zapped with that gift now? Instead, as I sit here typing, I'm looking at a box that is labeled "Middle Shelf of Entertainment Ctr." Really? Could I really be that blonde? 4 weeks later and I don't have any idea what was on that shelf! Papa Toad and I have moved 12 times, bought and sold 8'd really think we'd have it down to a science! I have a friend who is a meticulous packer! She has a cross reference system...each box has a # that corresponds to a list that tells exactly what's in that box...and each box has a list on its top that tells what's in it. Now, I ask you, where's the fun in that? No mysteries, no surprises, no Christmas feeling in June, no searching, no Yahoos, no feeling of reward when you finally find those pots and pans. (When we moved to Ohio I could not find those pots and pans...after 4 weeks I went and bought a new set!) I bet my friend is still stuck with her original wedding pots and pans because she labels those boxes....and she probably isn't moving 22,000 lbs....and she's not a quilter!
     So, the movers load up all the stuff Monday and the cleaners will come Tuesday. Wednesday, Papa Toad will drive the RV and the "Toad" (towed Escape) and Mom and I will follow behind as our little caravan heads south. We should arrive in Cameron Park late afternoon. I'll try to keep you posted on the rest of this adventure and let you know as soon as I decide where to put The Ark! Meanwhile, I think I need to do a little Stitchin' for the Soul! (Yes, that's not'll go in my cosmetic bag!)

4 more sleeps......

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Let's Try This Again!!!

Let's see what I don't remember about all this bloggin' stuff....that will be quite a lot! So, let this just be a little test post and see if I can start up again!