Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Salvage the Selvages

Thanks to some inspiration from the innovative and talented Jodie , I've been collecting selvages. Just bits and pieces, mind you, to try out some ideas.

Now that I've made them into 'yardage' I can get going on making them into the finished items. I had to share a peek at what they look like so far...
and I shall get busy with the next steps so that I can share some finished sewing projects with you shortly.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thanking My Stars... of Friendship Quilt

My version of the star quilt from Amandajean's last quilt a long...

which I am calling the "Stars of Friendship" quilt, in honour of my friend, Amandajean. Sometime ago, I mentioned that I loved the cherry print fabric she used in one of her many beautiful quilts. That fabric inspired my colour choices for my star quilt. I fell in love with the red and aqua combination! Now, you can imagine my surprise to receive some of this very fabric from Amandajean in my mailbox one morning.
It looks perfect as the binding on my quilt! I was so excited to have this beautiful print to use.
My quilt story doesn't end there, though. Moving delayed my finishing this quilt. Then, I couldn't find my iron! I searched and searched through my packing list. For some unknown reason I never recorded the iron in my itemized box list. Gah!

I ended up searching through many, many boxes to find it ( I was getting more and more exasperated the longer I looked). Finally, I found it - I was starting to think it had been left behind in our move. Upon finding it, I was set to finish binding my quilt. Somehow though, in my rush to bind the quilt, I miscalculated how much I would need. Genius that I am, I ran out of the cherry print - several inches short! So began my late nite online search for the print. Fruitless! I could only find this print in different colourways from the aqua that I need. sigh...

I was considering removing the cherry print and replacing it with something else. Then I emailed Amandajean and she saved the day (or my quilt!) and is sending me more of this delightful fabric so I can finish.
Yeah, I know. She's amazing. How lucky can I be to have such a understanding and generous friend? Seems the least I can do is name my quilt in her honour. Many, many thanks, Amandajean!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

More important

The past week has been filled with my continuing search for a rental house for my family ( I've looked at so many ads that I see them in my sleep at night ) add in some house viewings and then the birthday of our youngest son, all while I've been fighting off a cold and you have the makings of a tiring week.
I have kept our belongings packed to motivate the search. We're still sleeping in our sleeping bags, keeping our clothes in duffels bags and sitting on the floor or staircase to eat. This week I gave in. First, there was the homecooked meal and fresh baked bread (all requiring me to open boxes).

The end of the week found me putting the legs back on our kitchen table, but not for us to dine at. For a more important reason...
for me to finish quilting my star quilt!
I realized that I must be patient with my house search and waiting until we move again before I resumed my sewing, was really not making me happy. Sewing makes me happy, so why should it be held off as if it's a reward? My family seems to agree that using the table for sewing rather than for dining, is more important right now.
We all know that a happy woman= a happy family. ;o)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Making me smile...

Can you listen to these songs and not be happy? I'm glad I stumbled onto this video clip this morning. I managed to see this movie with girlfriends at the theatre before I moved away from them. Now when I hear ABBA songs I think of my friends.

I needed a bit of a boost to start today. I'm still house hunting. I'm trying to be patient about it all and remain hopeful. I had hoped we'd be settled before now. Especially with my youngest son's birthday just days away. Anyways, I guess I should go dig my ABBA CD out of one of the boxes and maybe I can keep up the positive energy seeing this video gave me this morning.;o)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Autumn Socks

One sock has been knit and is awaiting the grafting on the toe, while the second sock is still on my needles, but I had to show you the yummy colours of this yarn.

Perfect fall colours and stripes. I love stripes. I especially love self-striping yarn. The moment these beauties are off the needles, they will be on my cold feet! The temperatures here are decidedly those of autumn. The summertime heat is gone! Autumn temperatures make me quite happy to resume my knitting.

Monday, September 8, 2008

In one corner...

of our living/bedroom area I set one of our kitchen chairs and a bedside lamp along with the sewing table that belonged to my great grandmother.

This is the creative space I've set aside for myself in our unsettled housing situation. I've missed being creative since we've moved and I needed to get back to stitching on my embroidered tablecloth.
I've completed half of the embroidered design to date.
My fingers are 'itching' to get back to my quilt and other sewing projects, but for the time being, I shall have to appease my creative appetites with smaller, portable projects like my tablecloth. Once we have made our housing decision and settled in, I will be very glad to get my machine set up and back in action. Although, I'm pretty tempted to set up a makeshift sewing area sooner. Afterall, there is another empty corner in our temporary bedroom....

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The 'adventures' we've had staying in Edith

I've previously alluded to some problems in the house we moved into. To help me keep things positive, I'm calling them adventures. To preface this all you should know that Edith is not ours. We're only renting. Chances are very likely we will be the last family to live in her. Edith, along with her sister, Edwina, next door, are slated to be torn down and the land redeveloped within the next couple of years or so. We knew this when the offer was made to my husband to let us rent Edith. What we didn't know, or better put, what I didn't know, was how down on her heels Edith is because I never set foot in her until we moved in. She has been a rental home for many years and had been suited out on the main floor, upstairs and even the basement. Through the years, she has not been properly tended (I'm not blame laying here, just trying to paint a picture for you to understand what we're dealing with). For example: that pretty set of windows in the next photo? Yeah, well, the far right window opens fairly easily after the initial stiff start, the one on the left grinds or gouges across the window sill and then the middle one has rotted off its hinges and is actually only 'sitting' in position with its lock holding it in place. There's many little things like this throughout Edith that need attention .
I'm in a lovely old house with maintenance issues and problems like missing light fixtures and switch plates (seems someone ripped these off Edith's walls and ceilings to turn a buck without the new owner's knowledge or permission). Thankfully, my husband had capped all the bare wires before we moved in and we know we could go pick up some second hand fixtures to have Edith back in action with some proper lighting.

The next little adventure I had came in the form of the illegal radiant heater on the second floor that I only discovered was so after our gas was cut* and I had to have someone come in to light all the pilot lights.(*that happened after a mere 3 days into our stay in Edith. Yes, it was quite fun to have the gas cut off, especially when you had made arrangements to be on the billing only to discover someone(?) mucked it up and then get charged for reconnecting it... !) Ultimately the gas cut off did turn out to be a good thing, since we also discovered the uncapped gas line in the living room fireplace and had the serviceman deal with that for us.
Despite all these little adventures, we still were thinking of staying on. We would deal with the cosmetics. We would figure out a way to make her more energy efficient (all Edith's pretty windows are single panes and we could imagine very high heating bills come winter time). We talked of ripping out the stinky old carpets and sanding her wood floors. Of reworking her sad main floor kitchen (lucky for me, my husband has installed and built cabinets for a living). And then. Just as we were thinking we could refresh Edith for the time we could live here.... Well. That's when she had a plumbing problem. The kind that flooded the basement. Did I mention that the basement had a carpeted suite? That the basement was old and smelly to begin with? That past renters had left an odd assortment of unwanted furnishings downstairs that included old mattresses (read: super sized sponges...)? We now had a serious problem in a house that was slated to be torn down in a couple of years and we had only been here about 9 days! We had to hire a cleaning service to clean up before we could get another professional in to address the blockage in the sewer line. Yep. There is our most recent adventure in Edith. The sewer backed up in Edith's basement. We had just got back from a weekend of camping and now this.
We spent more than 24hours without being able to use the plumbing. We made the arrangements to have the mess cleaned up and to get the line unblocked (thankfully the tree roots that caused the problem were dealt with quickly... but what about the next time? Because you know there will be a next time with the number of trees in this yard alone and the age of the sewer pipe...). We stayed with Edith through this 'adventure'. Many thanks to the kind neighbour that let us use his washroom for the time we couldn't use ours. (Now there's an adventure! Dashing next door in the night with your flashlight and unlocking your neighbours front door so you can go use the facilities. The humour in it strikes me now. Especially considering that while camping we had flush toilets to use and hot showers at the campground).
Can you see why now that we were ready to leave Edith? She has problems that could make this very challenging and possibly costly to live with and the bottom line is that she is not ours and that she is slated to be demolished.
And yet... I still find my mind toying with the idea of doing what it takes to make her livable so we can stay. If we can find something suitable elsewhere that we can afford, we will likely move. Meanwhile we're still living out of our duffel bags, sleeping in our sleeping bags and keeping our household in moving boxes. I have told our boys (who have taken it all in stride very admirably) that this experience makes for some great story telling, "Our adventures in Edith"... ;o)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Edith's charms...

It was mentioned that my last post was a bit of a teaser. I basically showed outside pictures of Edith and of a couple of indoor shots. Today I thought I could share some of the unique details inside that have charmed me. Top of the list would be these windows which are located halfway up the stairs to the second story...

and despite accumulated years of paint, they still open! These windows were the first thing I cleaned. I couldn't resist them.
This old fashioned light fixture is in the upstairs hallway and to our delight, it actually works.
I found two styles of metal heating vent covers. I really wish that they hadn't been painted through the years.

Edith still has original doors and many of her doors have this style of antique doorknob. Not all of them are lock style doorknobs such as this one found in the kitchen (my husband has joked that I could lock our hungry teens out of the kitchen to prevent their late night food raids....;o)
Edith is around a hundred years old, so her original floors were hardwood. Unfortunately, some have been carpeted over and the other parts that are uncovered are in desperate need of refinishing, but I found this bit of flooring in fairly nice shape located in a bedroom closet.

This shot shows half of the sliding French doors that separate the dining room from the living room ( and reveal that we truly haven't unpacked).
Here's the door that separates the living from the front foyer (or in our case from the room where we store outdoor gear, such as bikes and garden hoses ;o).
This lovely trio of hinged windows is located at the front of Edith on the second floor and is actually the smaller set of windows in this room. Lots of natural light in this upstairs room.
Now you've had a peek at the interior of Edith and maybe you can understand why I have been charmed by her. You might also be more confused now by my statement that we would be leaving her.
For starters, I will say that we don't own Edith. She was offered as a rental home to my husband by some friends through his new employment, to give us somewhere to live immediately. Dear Edith had been sitting vacant and was more than spacious enough for a family of four. My husband had emailed photos of Edith to me before we moved and I readily (if somewhat eagerly) agreed to start out in Edith. It made the thought of moving easier to have a house waiting for us. Perhaps, if you're all not sick of my talk about Edith, I could share more details about our situation tomorrow.
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