Walk-Throughs and Speed Bumps

**** Will denote the crafty updates, house content until then. Today the person buying the house I grew up in will be doing their final walk through. The sale should be finalized tomorrow, with the disbursements happening from there. I hope that this means I can finally get myself settled on a budget that I can stick to. Of course, it is Holy Week (if you’re Catholic…which I am but lapsed), so things are going to be a little strange anyway. Even though it is a religious holiday the secular world seems to come to a bit of a slow down anyway. I did look into the roof grant, only to be told that they were working on finalizing the application and they would have the forms ready in about 90 days…well I’ve needed something done since October so waiting until June/July to fill out an application that could cover 3/4 the cost of it…doesn’t seem like a bad idea at this point in time. When I get someone in to look at the bathroom I imagine I can ask them about the roof as well.

I did start back onto Nutrisystem, only for my monthly concerns to rear their head setting my plans back for a few days. After tomorrow I should be able to go back to my original plan. I am debating if I want to spend my 3 day weekend next week hiding or if I want to go to the buffet next Sunday since I believe they will have lamb, I Love lamb, and don’t want to buy/cook/clean up after cooking lamb this week. Either way I hope to spend at least part of next weekend planting my seedlings in the pots I will use to put them outside in. Yay! I was going to pot the plants this weekend but did not, and I don’t feel bad about that. I need to rest for a couple of days, maybe finish some projects so I’m ready to start some new ones when I am back on an upswing. I have not been to the gym this week, Friday the weather was miserable and I was starting to feel poorly, then Saturday I started to figure out why I was feeling poorly, then today I had work and there was snow on the car so…no. I know it is weird, however I do not plan on going to the gym on days where there is snow, at least not when I am on a tighter schedule. If the weather is warmer and the gym is open at least 3 hours before I have to be at work that will work, 2 hours for the gym (getting there, working out, getting back) and 1 hour to clean up for work, then I will go to the gym. If not, then my iron and cutting board are upstairs, my sewing machine is downstairs, If I feel really good I’ll go up and down my stairs for 10 minutes at a time, that got me sweating the last time I tried that.

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I took Friday and Saturday off, though I am working my other job today. I had made a ‘play date’ with a friend and former colleague to try out a solar dyeing technique, unfortunately the weather did not hold out, however we had a fun time anyway. She had some fabric she did not want to keep and offered it to me, one was a set of 5″ squares pre-sewn together into 4 patches. She told me that it might be good for a disappearing 4 patch, however I know I cannot machine sew the corners properly, no matter how much I try, so I believe I am going to edge the squares using a solid color and either make it into a baby quilt that I can practice my hand quilting on or as a pillow or something similar. She was also kind enough to gift me with a mat for my sewing machine to sit on with pockets in the front and her husband gifted me with a carved bunny that I will treasure. She has this upcoming week off and would like to show me to a quilt shop less than an hour away and I suggested next Saturday since I know I have that day off, not thinking that it was the day before Easter. Oops, I hope it happens but I understand if it does not.

This means that Saturday was a ton of fun, however I tend to drive myself mad sometimes. In preparation for Saturday (and to just get it done) I worked on getting my third quilt attempt finished. I like how it turned out, learned a lot of lessons, and think I am going to give hand quilting a try next.

Wrestling a quilt that fits the top of a queen sized bed through a domestic sewing machine that sits on one of those small square tables you can get from certain craft stores is NOT how I recommend quilting. It did the job, I have a quilted quilt with the binding sewn on the edges. I did a ‘wavy lines’ quilting pattern, which means I tried to do wavy lines and I’m just going with, “Sure, I wanted it to look like that” as my answer when I am questioned about the weird peaks, dips, and straight edges in my wavy lines. The quilting is about 5″ apart, the batting says that the quilting can be up to 8″ apart so I should be alright there. The binding is just the backing folded over like you would do for pot holders.

Yesterday, Saturday, was a Weaver’s guild meeting half-way between where I used to live and where I live now. I love the guild, and it was ironic that the meeting was held at their public library (where I had interviewed for a job 2 years ago). The meeting was lovely, I had a chance to pull out my spinning wheel and show some individuals how to spin. I also reminded myself how much I enjoy the quiet of spinning. I am presently thinking that I will spin on my front porch while watching the world go by. Of course in order to do this I need to get 2 things accomplished. I need to get the porch level again, it looks as though one board likes to swell in the rain which causes it to buckle the porch, and purchase a chair for my front porch. I have been looking online thinking that I would order one, however if I plan on using it for a spinning chair I really should get a good idea of how it feels before actually spinning in it for any extended length of time. I am hoping that this is a once every 30 years purchase. While in town I discovered that they have a quilt shop which I was thrilled to find out…until I looked at their selection. I know that I have particular tastes, and that I do not want to purchase fabric until I KNOW I like it and will use it. This means that I bought a small, simple, pattern and a bag of essentially colorful scraps and asked the owner to keep the change since that was the only way I could spend five dollars in the shop. I feel bad, but I am not buying fabric I cannot see a good use for. I do have plans to use the pattern as a sort of border for one of the panels I hope to create a quilt from next. I also have 3 jelly rolls, not to mention most of a black jelly roll, to still use. Well, I did not know until I was typing that up that I had really decided on the quilt panel next, however that makes sense. I am still working on my EPP Project.

I have started to figure out how I want to place the glued pieces for my first EPP quilt, I have 10 out of 25 pairs sewn for the second part and these bundles put together for the first part that I hope to start sewing soon. I am trying to get some long languishing projects worked on so that I feel a little more freedom to work on this huge project. I am about a dozen rows away from finishing the pillow that started with a new colorwork class that had me knitting what were almost quilt block pieces. I love how this looks and cannot wait to see it finished. I am a little apprehensive about how I am going to finish it since at present I am planning on knitting some extra rows of the back to create a flap that tucks inside the pillow. I thought about just seaming the pillow blank inside however if I ever need to wash it that would cause too many problems.

Next I hope to start getting projects ready for progress. I need to find a charm pack that will go with the panel I hope to work on so I can get that border started. My 16 shaft loom needs to be warped with the towel warp I wound so I can start weaving that up. I need to straighten out my Saori Loom’s warp so I can get back to using up some of that yarn. There is the possibility that we will be playing with weaving looms next month at the guild meeting so I should have my looms ready to be warped and played with, not to mention possibly finding the alpaca tweed yarn I bought to weave a blanket from. Possibly that got lost during the moth-ening though I hope not. Oh, on a not so fun note, I just realized with spring possibly on the way I should consider putting together the push mower I purchased so that when my lawn dries enough I can mow. yay.

I am honestly excited by all of the changes coming, to myself, my house, and my crafting. I have been finding by leaning into what I am feeling and what my body is trying to tell me I can get more done. Some of this is certainly down to having 1 full-time job, no person needing me to take care of them, as well as having the second house off of my shoulders. However I do believe by resting when I need to, finishing things when I have the urge, and starting (some) things when I also have the urge I am completing more than I ever have in the past. Normally I would have become overwhelmed by the quilt and stopped, instead I leaned into wanting to finish it, took it step by step and leaned into binding when I felt like it instead of waffling.

That is me for the week, it has been busy. I’m going to take the next couple of days to lean into recharging and see where the world takes me from there. I am uncertain if I will post next week, it will depend on how much I get done and how I am feeling. Until next time, Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

434 Out of 471 Glued Down

Catch up about life and the house(s) before crafting. Crafting content starts at ****. According to our real estate agent the closing date for the sale of the house should be within the next 2 weeks. This is a little sooner than anticipated, however that will likely work out in our favor in the end. When we get the final closing date I will call the oil company so that we can be reimbursed by the new owner for the oil left in the tank (they will essentially buy the oil off of us) and we can notify the insurance company as well as the electric company. Yay. I’m feeling relieved about this, not as sad as I expected (it really was too much house for me and mom had gotten into some minor hoarding tenancies which made it more difficult to keep up with than it already was.) My supervisor, that was supposed to pick up the loom, is on medical leave….I don’t have any details and feel that if she wanted me to know she would have told me so I’m not asking for any details….so her Father picked up the loom yesterday. He also worked for the city works administration where I now live and had plenty of advice about my getting a new roof and fixing up my bathroom. About the roof, apparently where I live doesn’t qualify for financial help getting a solar paneled roof, however they do offer financial help in installing a new roof. So I will look into that on Monday and make inquiries. He also advised that since the floor is going to have to be semi-leveled to fix the problem with the toilet I should think about just getting the bathroom completely redone. He pointed out that if the toilet had been leaking then it might have caused structural damage anyway, and if I’m going to possibly pull everything out I might as well budget for it and get it done the way I want it to be in the first place. It’s a little strange, however I think it also makes complete sense.

For some reason the shower in that bathroom doesn’t have any doors or rod for a shower curtain, I’ve been making due with a tension rod but that sort of sucks as well. When I try to hang up some things to dry, if it is more than some hand towels or underthings the weight tends to bring the rod down…which is not fun in the middle of the night. Getting the bathroom done the way it needs to be and the roof on the house should be enough for this year. I would like to get a heating/air conditioning unit installed since I don’t do well in the heat, however that will likely have to wait for another year. Part of why I have never done too well in the heat is simply being overweight. Since stopping nutrisystem I have been finding myself falling back on old bad habits. To counteract this I have decided to resume Nutrisystem, and to stop delaying any further I reinstated myself today. This combined with going to the gym, yes I only managed once last week however that was more than I had been doing before and I have plans for this upcoming week, should lead to results I enjoy. I will not be purchasing a scale, instead I will be looking into how my clothing fits at a given time.

Of course, if these two fixes to the house do not cost a huge amount I can look into other fixes for this upcoming year. If they do, then I will choose one fix each year until the place is the way it needs to be. Alright, I’m back. Thinking about a new bathroom promptly sent me on a spiral to look at Victorian Bathroom Fixtures and two hours later I have emerged from that rabbit hole with several ideas. I will have to work with the individuals doing the renovations to ensure that I do not have too many conflicting points of interest, especially since I would like to minimize the white in the room. Enough of this for now, decisions will be made when the time comes, and I have a chance to speak with a couple of contractors my friends and colleagues have recommended.

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As in the title I have 434 out of 471 pieces of Tula Pink’s Tula Nova English Paper Piecing quilt glue basted. I did start sewing together the second set of pieces where the initial step is to attach two pentagons together along one side. The first step is to actually attach 5 triangles around a pentagon then attach diamonds in between each of the triangles to completely encase the pentagon. I have not taken the first step since I am still gluing down diamonds and have not made a design choice about these pentagons yet. As I will be making 11 of these they are the focal points of the quilt and need quite a bit of attention, I believe. After that I make some stars which will be modified to create the next portion of the quilt. I’m thinking of laying several pieces down to try and form a semi-cohesive view of the finished product before I do any intense stitching.

Oh, you didn’t think I was only doing one project did you? As stated before I tend to go in fits and spurts as well as leaning into my need to have more than one project on the go at a time. I have made progress on the sampler quilt top I am playing with, when laying it on the bed it goes across the bed rather well despite being only about 60″ wide however the length leaves a lot to be desired. I have another strip ready to add on to the initial portion so that I can decide where to go from there. I thought about adding more onto this smaller strip and then adding that onto the larger quilt, however upon reflection (which is why I didn’t add it on right away) I believe I would be better off seeing how this strip adds to the pattern before making any drastic design decisions. While I do have some blocks that I could add on, and at looking at what I have now I think it might be neat to add on some 10″ squares outlined and baste in my EPP flowers as centerpieces…hmmm. What if I add strips of 10″ squares to the length of the top and bottom of the quilt, balancing them out. This might complete the project if the strip I am going to add on tonight or tomorrow means that I only need about 20 more inches added onto the length of the quilt. I don’t think that is going to be the case, so I might be cutting some more strips to add onto the top and bottom to flesh things out so to speak. Adding in EPP Motifs as I play around with them on top of the 10″ square border pieces would certainly add visual interest. It might take me a little longer….unless I give my current project a sewing pause as I make some more EPP flowers…it would give me a chance to play with some of the ideas I have going on regarding patterning in my second Tula Nova Quilt…

Oh, I did mention that I was making a second Tula Nova Quilt despite each quilt being positively huge right? I’m sure I did. Anyway, the Wolfsbane print from Spoonflower arrived as well as a yard of rainbow stripe fabric I ordered from amazon. I have cut the pieces that will act as the star centers out of the wolfsbane fabric so that each wolf is howling, it took some time to fussy cut each one out, however I LOVE the effect. I was thinking about fussy cutting some diamonds out of the same fabric, however I do not want to risk overusing one print in a potentially dynamic quilt. To that end I am going to do some experimenting with how the wolfsbane fabric looks as hexi flowers since I have about a 1/2 yard left, and I will play around with the stripes as well.

Once I have the new quilt top finished I intend to use the cotton batting as well as one of the 108″ backing fabrics to create my quilt sandwich. Then I plan on doing some form of free-motion quilting, trim the batting down and folding the edges of the backing to act as my binding. It is a little unconventional, however I haven’t followed a pattern for this quilt yet, why start now?

So, selling houses, potential bathroom renovations, new roofs, English paper piecing, diets, exercise, quilt tops, did I forget anything? Actually I did! My cousin’s daughters are very into Fairies right now, and I am into playing with resin. As with any of my projects I wanted to ensure that I was making something that would get some use, so I decided to figure out which colors the little girls would like. One likes rainbows and the other purple (girl after my own heart). So I made up two resin fairy pieces, and it took several weeks since I attempted to mix two different brands of resin to create the second (I was out of one type and added in a second). It turns out that doesn’t work…at all. No matter how much you try to cure it stays tacky. There is a vague possibility this was due to the humidity over a 3 day period that I tried to get the dang thing to cure…but I have Natural Gas heating and I believe the house gets quite dry. I finally got these pieces in the mail yesterday, YAY! I also told my supervisor to purchase Roxy Epoxy if she wants me to do this craft with the teens, so I had a bottle of that waiting for me. I have found that the three brands I tried, one from Michaels and 2 from Amazon, worked just fine if they were cured on their own and not too much coloring was added in. When I did try Mica Powder (which I will not be using with the teens) the result wanted to take a very long time to cure, which I did not find out until I stuck my finger in it.

It is my fondest hope that the girls like their little fairy friends.

Until next time Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Scattershot

This pretty much describes where I am right now, scattershot. Crafting content will commence after this paragraph of catching up, if you want to skip ahead look for the ****. For the life of me I cannot believe that April is next week! The closing of the house is, hopefully, going to be in about 3 weeks. That will be a huge load off of my mind, and begin to give me the resources I need to make some changes to my new home. I did get the carpet taken out and the pink desk moved into the corner. I am still working on making the space as usable as I can. My energetic period took an abrupt downswing over the past couple of days, however that might be due to weird weather patterns and the re-emergence of my allergies. I had a stroke of productivity earlier this week and also joined my local gym. I started off strong and went twice this past week, it should have been 3 times however I wanted to go at 5 am to get back to my house by 7am and get ready for work, but the gym opened on the weekends at 6am and I thought 8am was cutting it too close. I plan on going tomorrow, Monday, at 5am and getting in the shower at home by 7am to be at work by 8:45. While that is also cutting it close I open M-W this week and do not want to have an entire week between gym visits, it will make the entire endeavor an unpredictable failure. My decision to go to the gym is prompted by a trifecta of circumstances; I plan on going back to Nutrisystem when I get the settlement from the house (and therefor don’t have the extra bills associated with the old house to contend with) and hope to do so more reasonably since the initial was essentially a starvation diet with no exercise component added in, I need to get stronger for my personal health/well being/self esteem; My sister and I hope to go on a special trip in the next couple of years and the theme park we hope to visit recommends that you are able to walk for 7-10 miles (which I cannot do right now without serious regret).

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On to the crafting content. There honestly is not a lot for me to report this week. I am still plugging away with gluing down pieces for my first EPP Project. I love how the colors are coming together, though I do plan on doing a little more organization for my second project. I obtained a case to keep all of my pieces in, since without it I was concerned I would drop everything everywhere and lose something.

As I finish pasting down one type of block I then color them in on the chart obtained from the Tula Pink kit, this is a photocopy for my personal use since I hope to make more than one of this quilt. There are some of the tiny triangle that have not been colored in, this is deliberate. As you can see on the far right hand side of the photo there are some triangles out of a white fabric with colored books on it, that will go in the ‘uncolored’ sections.

I had so much fun at the brown paper bag book binding class, the results were amazing. The embroidery class was also a ton of fun, I even managed a french knot. Then just to make sure it was not a fluke I recreated the knot at home on my own! Of course I do not have any photos of my embroidery, but I do have a picture of the finished bound book.

I believe that is all the news worth posting about this week, as things progress I will keep you updated. I hope to finish pasting down the pieces for my EPP quilt this week, there are 471 pieces to this quilt and I have 246 completely glued down with another 30/50 of one shape completed. That will bring me up to 296/471. It will be interesting to see how far I get and whether I get impatient enough to begin stitching some parts together before I have everything glued *spoiler* I’m probably going to get impatient. Until next time remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Why Not Go All in?

So when I start something I tend to go all in. Case in point, I decided to give English Paper Piecing a try. Learning one type of quilting at a time wasn’t enough for me apparently.

Lesson 1. 1.5” hexagons measure 2.5” across and 1.5” on each side. this means that getting a jelly roll so you have 10 coordinating fabrics of 40+ inches each….does not work. Oh well.

Lesson 2. Why plan one extremely complicated pattern for your second try at English Paper Piecing when you can go for 2?

To clarify these lessons, I am having an absolute blast with English Paper Piecing (EPP). I have finished 2 flowers and have most of the pieces cut out for Tula Pink’s Nova Quilt Pattern. I purchased the pattern and papers as a kit from Amazon along with the Acrylic templates to cut the fabric out. I think I could have done fine with cutting the fabric, though not very fast, without the templates however I plan on doing some fussy cutting for the second quilt and the templates will be invaluable then.

The pattern, there are a lot of small squares to this
The paper templates are amazing, however it is going to take me forever to get the fabric pasted on

It has taken me several hours to get most of the pieces cut out for my trial version of the quilt. I love the colors and I am looking forward to seeing how it will turn out. Right now I am working on pasting the 170 tiny paper triangles onto the tiny fabric triangles and tacking them down with the fabric glue. I use Wonder Clips to hold the three points down to ensure a good seal, then stack about 10 in the clip for about 15-30 minutes. Then I make sure each triangle will separate, since I like using a good amount of glue, and stack them in the box. About 3 hours in and I have about 100 of the 170 ready to go. Of course this is just the first of 7 shapes, it is also the most abundant. After this the numbers drastically reduce per shape, the largest has only pieces 11 to it.

I do have this quilt finally completed, there is a flower on the back and writing on the front to hide where I messed up the binding, however I love how it looks. It is really just a lap sized sort of thing, however I adore it. I have also made some progress on following patterns and made the 29″x29″ heart below, I am hoping to add other squares and sashing to make this a 90″x90″ piece so I can use it as a queen sized quilt.

I had a quilt night at my library and my machine kept jamming up, despite just having been serviced I was spitting mad. Luckily enough one of the patrons, the step-mother-in-law (ex?) of one of my supervisors, had a Janome LE she was not using and offered it to me. She would not take anything in return, which was very nice of her. I made the heart up in the week between classes, since I had the idea floating around in my head, just no reliable machine to use! Eventually I am going to have to consider getting the Janome professionally seen to, however I might see who else does that in the area.

If that were not enough I also have been doing some work on my house. This is crafting related I promise. A couple of weeks ago I went to a friends house for a sewing day, it was amazing. Her set up was so inspiring I immediately went looking for something similar, and promptly got sticker shock. A week or so later and I found a sale at Michaels that would go along with my $10 coupon, and for under $100 I had a table that was 55″ unfolded by over 22″ deep, and waist height. I have found that as a responsible adult, I have to trick myself into doing stuff, lol.

In this case I was not able to assemble my new table until I had called the garbage company to arrange pickup of the carpet pieces from the third floor AND hauled the carpet to a point where taking them out the afternoon before pick-up would be easy. (I have to put them out after 4pm the day before, no earlier.) Right now they are on my front porch, looking really ugly, however I did not really have anywhere else to store them until pickup.

Well, now that the carpet is done, okay so I still have one more small piece….and all of the padding…and the linoleum that someone put down on top of the hardwood floors…other than that the carpet is done, I could assemble my new table. The plan was, yes was, for me to use the good table to sew and a card table with adjustable height to press and cut. I put the card table, well it is a bit closer to picnic table length, up and started to do some cutting. Only to find that even at its highest the table is a bit too short for me to comfortably cut on it. I think it’s a good height if I am sitting at it, however, so this might become my sewing station instead. The rolling cart however, with the 55″ width when unfolded, is just at my waist height making it virtually perfect for cutting and pressing. While assembling this I had to run downstairs and put two different bandages on, one was due to the folding nature of the particular screw driver I was using, and I still have to tighten a couple of screws down before I trust that flap for cutting. Other than that the entire thing is assembled.

I also have an origami rack in the odd corner, right now it is going out into the room, however I think I will turn it to nestle into the corner to give me more room around my sewing table. You can see that the white table has considerably more height on it. The floors are a bit scarred looking, I was thinking of seeing how much it would be to get them professionally refinished, however someone pointed out it might be better to just get a faux wood laminate or something similar over top. This wood is so scarred and there are such gaps between boards I think the entire floor would have to be relaid and there is a lot more that needs done to the house before that. (Such as a new roof, heater/air conditioner, etc.).

I am very happy with these wall storage pieces. The spool rack is from amazon, but the other rack is from 5-below. I was able to bend out the hooks on the bottom so they can fit a pair of scissors and some other small objects. While I love the look of table top storage rack things, I knock them over. I just do. This is a similar problem I am going to have with acrylic ruler storage…I knock them over. There are some really neat ones with slots and places for pins…One bad bump and I have pins all over the floor along with ruler (just my luck I would break one).

My sewing room is coming along wonderfully. I hope that I will be able to keep the other pink desk in there so that this can be a multi craft room since I have too many interests to make a room for each one. When the second leaf of the tall white table is unfolded I cannot get by the pink desk. If I move the white table or the black table then I lose maneuverability. If I move the pink desk any closer to the window I cannot get into the closet…which I am only worried about so that Orkin can make sure I don’t have mice…but that is important to me. I might move the pink desk back into the corner and make a nest of tables with my resin and possibly paper craft supplies by the pink desk. The white table is just about 1″ to shallow for the entire width of my largest cutting mat, which frankly sucks, however I believe I can live with that (and being careful about cutting) since it completely fits my pressing mat.

That is about it for my big news. I am loving these new crafts, and using the momentum to make progress on other things. This is my active cycle, which according to traditional wisdom this should be the end of my resting cycle but whatever, so I am going to lean into it and enjoy while I can. This week I am taking the second in a two part book binding class and the first in a two part embroidery class. While I have a full week of work ahead of me it is exciting to know that I now have some room and freedom to explore. I still do better when I plan my days out and stick to them within the parameters given, I have the freedom to change those parameters as well. No pet or person waiting on me to get home, no major obligations other than to myself, work, and my bills. The freedom is a bit heady, I can get involved in other organizations without worrying that it will cause problems for my ill mother or that it cannot be worked around my crazy work schedule (I now have a regular work schedule). It has taken a bit over a year for these facts to begin to sink in, now that they have I ensured that I would be available for every meeting of the 3 guilds I belong to as I could. 2 meetings of one guild occur during major events at work I need to be at. Okay, enough pseudo therapy for right now.

I hope to have more crafting news for you next week, until then Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Falling Hard for Quilting

So, the truth of the matter is when I start something that I enjoy I tend to fall very hard for that craft. Here are the quilt squares that I have made and that I am presently working on squaring up…

Spools were a theme then I moved onto other things. I love how everything is turning out, though I know that they are not perfect and will not be square in the end. I did have a binding mishap on a quilt I finished rather quickly and have learned what I did wrong to fix that in the future. On a similar note…quilting leads to fabric design. I know, not for most but go along with me here.

I have been watching episodes of Quilting Arts TV online via a monthly subscription, and it is giving me ideas. One of those ideas is about Cyanotype printing, or printing on fabric using sunlight/uv. I tried something similar withy Cyanotype paper last year for a program and absolutely hated it. Well, what I hated was that the results were not consistent. Some of the papers printed fine while others would not print at all. This made for disappointing results for several children and I hate disappointing children. I have already told my bosses that I am doing some experimenting but this is not going to be ready to go as a program until next year at the earliest. Of course, I cannot be content with just one exploration.

I am also playing with the ideas of block fabric printing, fabric painting, and wet fabric paint dyeing. There is a medium that can be used to turn acrylic paint into heat set fabric paint. Using that and some stamps I plan on giving block printing on fabric a try. Fabric painting is straightforward, use the acrylics with medium to paint onto fabric. The last is a little different, again on Quilting Arts TV they had a wet fabric painting technique that I would like to explore.

You may think me mad, however you cannot say that I am linear!

I was also fortunate enough to have been gifted a Janome sewing machine, it is a bit old but the manual is available online and I have been able to start sashing several squares already in hopes of turning them into a quilt top.

*Unrelated to crafting, I have had confirmation that the buyer of my family home has financing, so that will be one more worry off of my mind in a few weeks.*

Remember to Live Life in a way that is A Little More Abstract.

Plant Update

For a Dye Garden that I am planning on planting in the spring I purchased seeds from the Grand Prismatic Seed Company, which has amazing support. I did try for a grant to purchase grow lights however other candidates were chosen. I have two Ott Lights that some people claim can be used as grow lights, Grant Prismatic said that the spindly plants from last year were due to a lack of light. I planted 3 seeds in 5 pots for 5 different species of flowers, 25 total. These were the packets of seeds that contained 100+. I planted about 4-5 days ago and today when I looked there were some seedlings peeping up. The Ott lights are on the entire time that I am home, so at least 12 hours a day.

So Much Happening

So, last Sunday my side hustle was on break and I wound up having a quilting day with an amazing new friend/colleague from my full-time job. The afternoon started off worryingly, I shut the top of my metal storage rack on my finger…that was not a good time to discover I did not have any band-aids in my new house! One trip to the pharmacy later, and I went to my friends house. She is a part of the Pointer Rescue Organization and had a foster dog that I was able to meet. That makes it so hard to remember that I do not have time/space for a dog right now. I was able to get some ideas about how I can/should set up a sewing area. Since she is planning on making a long distance move soon she offered me her folding table…until her husband found out how much it would cost to replace that table, lol. I deeply appreciate the offer, and I do realize that this is the sort of table I am going to need. I gained a deeper understanding of cutting and pressing.

I am having so much fun sewing and quilting right now that I cannot believe I have allowed myself to be intimidated by quilting for this long! The aspects that have allowed me to get into this form of quilting is the understanding that there is more out there than half-square triangles. I am working better when I do not have to meet corners perfectly (though there are certainly arguments that there is no perfect in quilting). I finished a 6 column quilt that comprised of 4 colors in different saturation points that were sashed by black jelly roll strips on all sides. Since this was made of 24 blocks with simple sashing I was able to finish in 2 days. I then made the quilt sandwich, switched out needles when the machine started ka-thunk-ing, and sewed 90% around the edge of the quilt sandwich. Changing the needle once more after the tip broke off at a corner ( digging a sharp needle tip out of quilt batting is not fun). After I cut the excess of batting and backing off of the edges I turned the quilt inside out before I sewed about a quarter inch around the edges to close the seam and get a more finished edge.

The last two steps involved the binding around the edge of the quilt. I sewed the binding strips together, then with the right sides together (with the bulk of the binding on top of the quilt, then once you have sewn around the edge you flip the binding around to the back) I sewed the binding onto the top of the quilt. Next I folded the binding over the edge of the quilt, folded under the edge of the binding and faced hand felling this binding….and I decided to take a shortcut. I decided that I was going to use a decorative stitch from the top of the quilt to machine fell the edges of the binding. In retrospect I really should have at least watched a video on how to machine fell a seam…so after I did that I went back to fell the parts of the seam that did not work, embroidered some text in a corner that the stitching did not work in, and now I’m embroidering a flower on the back so that the embroidery stitches from the text do not show as random thread on the back… Oh well. The batting and backing I used were left over from earlier purchases and I plan on using this as a rug once I have shown it to the quilt guild I joined because my new friend is a member. This experience has also taught me that I need to take some in person classes about quilting, and properly finishing a quilt. Hopefully I can find some that are not cost prohibitive.

One of the main take-aways that I have from this experience is that I really enjoy quilting. For me to do this new craft properly I am going to need a space to create within. My Library room is likely going to become my sewing room. Before I can start using my second and third floors I need my second floor bathroom to be usable, so once the old house has sold this has become my second priority (the roof is still first). I also am going to need a better sewing machine at some point in the relatively near future. I am half thinking about getting a machine that also does embroidery so that I can use the hoop to do some pre-programmed quilting designs on the quilt.

Not everything has been about the quilting however, well there is work and how I will be starting a teen crafting class every week in April but that is a different post, as I have been working with UV resin. UV resin is a form of resin that is quickly set using ultraviolet light, it is said that sunlight works however I have found that UV nail lights work well. The kind that nail salons use to set acrylic nails. I know that this sounds really scary, however with the exception of using mica powder for coloring I have found UV resin to be relatively easy to work with. Small bookmarks turned out well, The medium journal cover needs work, I’m not sure if it is because the mold was not on a flat surface or that the mold warped a little due to the heat of the reaction but this cover is not flat. I’m going to try again with the small cover when the new resin arrives. I am experimenting with different brands of resin to obtain the best value/quality ratio. My boss is already planning on how this can be used at the library, which I am all on board with.

I think that is enough for now, sorry I don’t have any WIP photos.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

The Universe Was Not Finished With Me Yet

*Very little crafting content in this post, it will begin after the ***

So, I didn’t post last week. I usually post while I’m at my side hustle job, I do my work but there are periods of down time. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to my side hustle last week, well, let me back up a bit. Not this past Thursday but the one before that we put our old house up for sale. The realtor recommended we give it the weekend and start looking at offers the following, this past, Tuesday. My sister and I agreed. A friend/colleague from my side hustle job wanted to get together so we did a shopping trip that Saturday, February 12th. We had a bit of fun, I showed her my new house and she assured me that it does not smell of cat (yay!). As we were getting ready to end the night, she was going to try some Skinny Syrup Mermaid Flavor since I had some and wanted her to be able to try it before purchasing a bottle. She let me out and I started walking up the neighbors driveway, and I fell….hard…landing on the wrist where I had previously snapped a ligament. I hopped back up and tried to ignore the pain, thinking I would put a hot pack on once my friend had left.

She asked if I was alright, brought in my purchases, and all in all was amazing. I served her the flavored water, it tastes like coconut and all things tropical I love it. Then I noticed that a bulge was protruding from the back of my bad wrist, heat and ice were not going to do the trick. My friend took me to the urgent care center, we were seen within 10 minutes. It was a bit of fun hanging out with my friend, especially since ( a week later) I know that it was just a sprain. Since I was in pain, and did not feel up the the hour drive the next day (or another 8 hours of work followed by another hour drive) I called off of work/side hustle last week. This resulted in my, effectively, sulking for the entirety of last Sunday…which I needed. I slept a lot, rested my wrist, and generally had a very relaxing day. This past Tuesday we accepted an offer on the old house (we had 2, one was 66% of asking price and one was 100.5% of the asking price, so we accepted the full offer). Then came prepping for the inspection, which was just yesterday, and now we are going to wait for the next steps.

I’ve only given myself enough time to breathe today and realized that I was trying to work ‘full speed’ through my fallow period. Since I have so much going on I was trying to force myself to be productive instead of settling down and dealing with life as it comes….okay, since I have tomorrow completely off I’m going to rest, read, relax, and enjoy myself. *whew* That’s a load off of my mind, and probably what the universe was trying to tell me.

***

I did discover that I can still use my sewing machine while wearing a wrist brace and with a sprained wrist. I am not really sure why quilting is hitting me so hard as the craft I want to do, but I am going with it right now.

This is my curvy log cabin quilt squares, well half of them before the final trim. I am supposed to trim off the last white section to square up the blocks…however I am seriously thinking about leaving that part on for this half of the blocks. For the second half I plan on reversing how they look, putting the white sections toward the center, and for that I will trim the white down to a square. I know, there are wrinkles everywhere, and I am certain there are ways to prevent them…I just don’t know what those are. I am not sure what I am going to do with the finished blocks, though I am really leaning toward a sampler quilt. I have a 108″x108″ backing piece that I can use to create a queen sized quilt. I also have two panel pieces that I fell in love with that I need to figure out what to do with. At present my quilting station is sufficient, but irritating so I am also looking into ways to make that situation better. Fortunately, for my wallet at least, there is not enough room for me to pick up a Create Room Co. Dream Box, though I’m still looking at their sewing station.

***This is going to be about home decoration, while craft room organization is a big part of that the actual crafting content is done***

As I am finding out looking for home furnishings, furniture of any quality is quite expensive. A really nice work desk is about $700, I can get similar from Amazon but I have to think that the quality will not be there. Of course I just did some more looking at the Dream Box, as I have been for the past three years or so, and discovered the Dream Cart. I will do some measuring and look into it further, however it looks like a reasonable solution. While it does not have the recessed sewing machine storage or the specific thread storage it does have two leaves that operate independently of each other, one can be used for pressing and the other for cutting. There is storage in the center column, on both sides so that it can easily be used from the ‘front’ or the ‘back’. Frankly if this works out the way it appears that it will I could see this becoming a great writing desk for me as well, but back to storage. I have full-sized origami racks, which I adore due to their portability and capacity.

They are also metal and rather…industrial looking. For right now they are doing great at storing the decorations I inherited, and cannot bear to part with right now, from Mom. That is taking up over half of my computer room right now, yet I do not see a way around that at present. I thought about putting the decorations downstairs, but I would need the smaller origami racks, and I would need about 4 of them, since they run 75 each I’m not willing to pay $300 right now for storage I can get elsewhere. I may decide to store them on the third floor if I do not find another use for that area. I have most of the carpet padding out of my final bedroom, plus I purchased curtain rods to install.

It is a bit difficult to drill holes to install curtain rods with one really good hand, so that has been put off a little bit. Even once the rods are installed I will have to find appropriate curtains to install, specifically blackout curtains. I think I have what I would like chosen, they are only about $45 per pair and I would need 5 sets. While I love the idea of weaving my own curtains I acknowledge that is not realistic; at least not for me to weave curtains that would be light proof.

As you can probably tell from this long and rambling post, organizing a craft room/house is quite a set of compromises. You can absolutely get furniture for under 1k; the main issue is you will likely be re-purchasing that furniture over and over again as it breaks.

I think that is enough rambling for today. I am going to take this week to enjoy my fallow period and work on finding what will relax and recharge me while trying to listen to what the universe is telling me. One of those messages seems to be ‘Don’t make any large purchases right now’; so I hope to spend time enjoying what I already have.

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Messages From the Universe, Received

NO CRAFTING CONTENT THIS WEEK, SORRY!

Have you ever had one of those weekends where you realize that the universe has been whispering messages at you and you’ve been willfully ignoring them in favor of what ‘seems like the thing to do’?

That is what my weekend was like. I got off of work at 7:15pm and back to my new house about 7:30. I then started shoveling my driveway, I don’t have a snowblower because the big ones do not make sense for the size of my drive and the little ones wouldn’t go through the slushy/icy stuff anyway, so that the company could deliver my washer and dryer on Saturday. After about 30 minutes shoveling in the cold I had about 85% of the way to my cellar door cleared out, I would finish in the morning.

Setting 4 different alarms: Wake Up, You Can Shovel Now, Did You Shovel, and Seriously They’re Coming in 30 Minutes Shovel, I actually started shoveling at the second alarm. To clarify, You Can Shovel Now, is when the sun was high enough that I could see the driveway. After 10 minutes, and a decent amount of progress, my fingers were so cold they actually hurt. I decided to take a break. It only took me another 10 minutes after Did You Shovel to get the path cleared. I made sure I was presentable after Seriously.

The company called 15 minutes before they showed, he measured the area from the front door to the basement, that I told him was too small, and said that it was too small. Then he went to the basement to check the hookups, that is where we hit the first snag. The gas dryer hookup had the wrong…something to attach it to the dryer, and since the hose was copper and already kinked he wasn’t willing to hook that up. He said I’d have to get an electrician to come in to hook it up. I’m already thinking about not accepting delivery of the dryer at this point, but I need to do my clothes, so, okay, I’ll look into electricians. He brought the washer in and the dryer. He showed me the valve/flange/hookup thing so I would know basically what to tell the electrician. Then he starts hooking up the washer. The extension cord went over the top of the ceiling rails and dangled down, he asked if it had to go over, and I admitted I didn’t know. He moved it closer to the floor, I found out later why that was a bad idea, and hooked up the washer. I had to hold it angled while he leveled out the feet. I signed, he left. Then I started my first load of clothes, after looking at the instructions, etc.

Now things get interesting. This is an energy saver washing machine with high ratings on consumer reports, so it is not the washer’s fault. I started the load then went to the living room. It took a little bit of water flow and gentle agitation to get things started….then it sounded like the house was going to come down around me. When I mentioned this to my sister she told me to see if the noise carried all the way up to the bedroom, because if it didn’t then I could go up there when doing laundry. Alright, it’s a bit loud, I can deal with that. I went down to check and found out when it would be done, and put a bag of clothes on top of the washer to be ready when the first load was done. I tried to get a couple of things done upstairs and waited until the first load was complete. I expected a noise….but there wasn’t any things. I went down to check….only to find out that my washer had walked itself across the basement, dumping the load of clothes into the water that was leaking because the drainage hose had moved and the plug (remember the one that was no longer going over the rafter) was in the water. I unplugged everything and called the company that I purchased it from. They sent me to another person, who tried to talk me through leveling it (but I had found out that I only had 48 hours to make them take it back), and I finally found a person with the authority to get them to take it back, so they will be by the 16th to pick it up and refund me the money. Yay.

It was after 2 in the afternoon and I had two bags of sopping wet clothes, some dirty, some I didn’t know if the soap had been rinsed out. So I bagged every piece of clothing and most of my bedding up and went to the laundromat. There is a really nice one not too far from my house, right behind an Arby’s, and for about $20 I got everything washed and dried. Am I happy, no. Am I mad about this, not really. I will try to get one of the ‘off the grid’ camping washers and spin dryers to do my clothes for much cheaper. There was a little more.

My realtor called me to see if we could put off listing the house, I’d been having trouble getting my neighbor to plow like he usually would. I did find out that he had 2 losses in his family so he wasn’t in a good way. I agreed, we should show the house off to it’s best advantage, though I was quite disappointed. Remember about thinking with my head instead of what the universe was trying to tell me.

I’d been having minor problems with the old house four about 5 weeks now, nothing major but having trouble every time I went to check on it. This week was the last straw. I hadn’t realized that my neighbor did not do the driveway so I tromped through a couple feet of snow, thank goodness I wore two pairs of socks. Then once I got in things looked okay as I did the water test, but something made me realize that the house seems abandoned and that is going to cause too many problems if I’m only going once a week. It isn’t a big deal but I don’t want to write about it here and it isn’t anything that equals long term damage, but I noped out of the situation.

Long story short I called my realtor, asked her if she knew of anyone that could plow, deal with the situation and make sure that things are kept ‘lived in’ and list the place as soon as she could. I then called my sister, told her what was going on and that she was going to have to chip in (or pay for) whatever caretaker the realtor can find. So the universe was screaming at me and I hope that this is going to result in some positive change pretty soon (now that I listened). I’m waiting to hear if I’m going to need to do much more than check my mail each week, then I hope that this problem will resolve itself.

On my way home tonight I get a cheeseburger and a sundae. Not a great coping mechanism, but it will have to do. Hopefully I will get some motivation to do some kind of crafting this week, but even if I do not I hope you have a great week.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.

Not Much Progress

So, what happens when the temperatures drop below 0? Well apparently the water in the oil filter, which had been accumulating for years but the oil company didn’t drain even though we have a maintenance contract with them, freezes which means that oil cannot get to my heater. If oil cannot get into my central heating unit it does not work, which means that everything in the house freezes even the pipes. This is what I walked into on Sunday when I went to check on my old house. Naturally the company had been in the week before to get all of my stuff out so that the house is almost ready to be put on the market. So I had to spend Sunday waiting for the house to thaw once the heating company fixed theings. Then Monday I had to take the day off so I could wait for the plumber. Fortunately, I now know what I need to do each week to ensure that the water is healthy in my old house until it is sold.

Due to these circumstances I have not been able to make any real progress on any of my crafts. I’ll try to report back this weekend if I can get anything done. On a happy note I have three more garbage bags full of carpet backing to throw out! The first bedroom is looking much better!

Until next week, Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!