Sunday, December 29, 2013

Planning for the New Year

 Folks on the Stashbuster Quilting Yahoo group have been sharing their selected 'Word of the Year' and what quilting goals they have for 2014. I have not picked a Word of the Year, but having spent some time straitening up and organizing the sewing room this past week I realized my scrap and crumb collections have continued to grow. So my focus for 2014 is to use up a good portion of my scraps. It is nearly impossible to measure how much scraps one has, so I went with the next option - go by weight. I weighed my scrap box and crumb bag and it comes out to about 23.5 pounds. Its not reasonable to try to get rid of all the scraps, but I figure reducing the weight by 1/3 should be doable. So that would be a reduction of about 8lbs in 2014. I set 6 month goals of 4 lbs just to break the goal down a bit.
Before starting this scrap challenge I did finish piecing a Disappearing 9-patch quilt top (top photo). Once that was done I spent some time going through some Pinterest images and some of my scrap quilting books and selected about 5 or 6 patterns and ideas that I think would work for my collection of scraps. The first one I am trying out is the Diamonds are Forever pattern from the String Quilt Revival book. Here are my 2 test blocks. So far so good. I will need to start cutting strips to keep going.

Monday, December 23, 2013

My Yard is Mother Nature's War Zone

I don't think I can handle any more drama. First being sick (and technically still sick) and then the big ice storm.
The storm has covered everything with between 3/4 to a full inch of ice. As you can see it is affecting the trees and plants. Any time spent outside you can hear trees cracking and breaking and giving way to all the weight of the ice.  

Clean up involves violently chiseling away at the ice with heavy metal garden shovels. After two days only part of the walkway to the house and about half of the driveway are mostly clear of ice. It all just breaks up in large ice chunks that you have to fling into the yard. The ice is so thick on the ground that you don't break through and the chucks just go sliding across the yard.

On Sunday afternoon we lost power for only about an hour. But as we were going to bed around 10:30pm the power went out again. This time for much longer. We promptly got the generator out and running by 11pm and it ran till 4am when power was restored.

Still not sure if I can get my car out. At the moment there are lots of icy branches hanging over the driveway, so you don't really want to be under them shoveling, just in case they give way and fall on you.

As you can see the maple in the side yard is experiencing all sorts of damage, and so far about 5 different large branches have come crashing down. I still go out and feed the birds and squirrels, but I don't go under the tree, I just fling the food and it slides into place at the base of the tree. There is going to be an incredible amount of debris to clean up this spring. I am already thinking of renting a chipper.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Couldn't put it off any longer

The ceiling fan and light in the sewing room / guest bedroom had been acting up for a month or so. I would pull the string several times before the light would turn on or off. And yesterday it got a lot worse, so since Damon and I were going into town to run several errands I added getting a new light/fan on the list. What I was not expecting was the Damon was ready to install it right after we got home so the picture here it our actual fixture already installed! As with anything electrical in the house (as the original wiring is ancient) we stand back, flip the breaker back on, and see if anything catches fire. This install actually went pretty well, the wires looked to be in good shape and the box was already installed and secure in the ceiling. This does not use conventional light bulbs, and I think at the moment it gives off a bit less light than the last fixture, but it says I can up the wattage, so I may go back in a week or so and get the brighter bulbs. 
The other thing we couldn't put off much longer, and one of the original errands, was to look into getting a new stove. The one that came with the house when we bought says it is an American Motors stove. Our best guess is that it is from the late 1940s or early 1950s. And it works great! - except that the big burner in the front, the one we use the most, seems to have lost its temperature regulation. We have made due for a couple of months using the other burners or just watching what we are cooking much more closely. Damon even looked into trying to find the part to fix it, but as you can imagine they don't make them anymore.
There are a lot more options now for stoves, so we looked and compared: coil vs. glass-top stoves, regular vs. convection and single vs. double ovens. After you make those bigger decisions you then need to look at brands, and for me and Damon also the look, feel and features. We did end up ordering a new stove, a GE glass-top with a double oven. We have decided this is our Christmas gift to each other this year. It should be delivered sometime before Christmas. Hopefully we will get the hang of the new stove in time for  baking Christmas cookies and making Christmas dinner!