Sunday, April 27, 2008

I asked him to cut the lawn

Our son, Robbie, came back again this week to do some more projects for the office/design/sewing studio. He drove down here (190 miles round trip) to help.

He was here two weeks ago (click on Labor of Love) working hard with me. This time, he and his dad tackled three important items on our list. The first one was hanging shelves in the sewing studio closet for storing machines and old quilts, plus family photos. Then, he hung new folding doors in front of the washer/dryer area.

The new shelves are hung level and plumb and are ready to be stuffed full. In the “workway hallroom” my new fabric storage cupboards are to the right, and a huge drop leaf table for pinning quilts (or sorting laundry) sits to the left of the new doors.

Robbie and I decided on his last visit that a “lawn” would be a fun thing to have on the second story balcony outside the office. DH Robert and I drove up to the Snylawn store near Sacramento last Wednesday and bought a remnant.

The lawn had to be cut to size – 81” by 81” x 115” right triangle. Robbie’s friend Lisa and I laid the lawn pile-side down on our lower landing and marked off one edge with masking tape. Robbie, of course, measured again and tweaked our calculations a bit. He cut one side with a box knife, but decided to cut the hypotenuse side with big scissors. I realize now I should have sacrificed a rotary cutter for the project and skipped the scissors. The lawn is a big piece of heavy-duty plastic fabric with tufts.

In the meantime, my other son Davis was working online from his home to help me with a Google Adwords program to try to increase my quilting pattern sales.

I think I have two of the nicest sons in the world. I know I have two of the nicest sons in the world.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Flashback Friday -- The Manly Art of Knitting

Whilst sorting though everything during our office/design/sewing studio re-do we found some old advertising posters for The Manly Art of Knitting by Dave Fougner.

We published Dave’s book in 1972. He was the husband of my son’s kindergarten teacher. He was an avid knitter and a cowboy. He made lots of beautiful sweaters and dresses for his wife and daughter.
Dave came up with several unusual projects for his book such as a hammock knit with rope on shovel handles, and a horse blanket knit on a circle made from a garden hose. The Whole Earth Catalog said that The Manly Art of Knitting was an excellent basic knitting book. We had a lot of fun with it. We sold it to Scribner’s in 1973.

Now, we see that Amazon has used copies listed for $150. I sure wish we had a few copies of the book around here.

I put one of the posters up on eBay yesterday. Search for “Manly Art of Knitting Poster” to find it.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Just a few little things

We are trying to repair little things before declaring our work finished in the sewing studio/office/design area.
The flip-down front thing on my old Singer 101 has been broken for years and years. When I pulled on the knob the whole thing fell down and all the stuff would fall out on the floor. That’s not good. Wood glue and clamps were still handy, so Robert fixed the problem. The latch now works and I can keep the little manual in there along with a needle-threader.
I plan to use this as my free-motion machine and I’m ready to start learning on some sample quilt squares now. Such progress!

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Quilting again!!!

I read this on Teresa’s blog: “I have made a deal with myself. I sort for an hour or so, then sew for two hours or so. I am making progress.”
That seemed like such a good idea, so now I’m now determined to sort for a couple of hours and then quilt for a couple of hours instead of continuing sorting stuff day after day. I have the design/office almost finished and the sewing “studio” more than halfway in order.

I fired up my QuiltPro program and began the quilt I started imagining in January. This morning I was able to drape some fabric over the screen to try out some colors.
Nothing I have in my new fabric storage cupboards is exactly right (wouldn’t you know). I printed out a swatch/yardage list and I’m going to head for the fabric store to pick out the “right” colors.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Russell was here today

It’s that time of year. Our county requires all properties to have weeds cut low by mid-April. Just in the nick of time, Russell Fitzgerald arrived to mow down our shaggy lot next door. It is always so good to see him.
Russell brought us some apples and some memories in December. Click on the link here. Russell marks the seasons for us as the world turns.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Labor of Love

This darling little guy came to help me yesterday. Nowadays he isn’t little anymore. But he said:

“You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there…”
(Carole King You’ve got a Friend)

My oldest son Robbie came when I needed big help in the final stages of sewing studio project. (He doesn’t go by Robbie in the real world, but it’s hard for a mother to switch to calling him Rob or Robert after 47 years – happy birthday.)

This was the disaster area he confronted when he arrived.

He got right to work. He was so patient with me and brought me items to sort one by one. This was a very tedious process.

Robbie worked all day in the heat. Wouldn’t you know it was the hottest day of this year (over 80 degrees)? He just goes and goes and goes until the job is finished. We did take a break for fresh baked bread with strawberry-pear jam, then some lemon meringue pie from our neighbor Mary Mac, and later for Robert’s (my DH’s) Teriyaki chicken dinner with brown rice. DH and Robbie’s friend Lisa talked about recipes and cooking for most of the day while they stayed out of our way.

But Robbie didn’t want to quit until the sewing area was all clean and arranged just as it was shown on the plan drawing. (See the CONTEST.) He is a marvelous organizer. It was so odd to have my son acting as boss of the whole operation. He was a good boss. He learned the difference between sewing thread, embroidery thread, and quilting thread. I’m sure if you talk to him in the next week or so he will be able to tell you a lot about quilting – fabric, rulers, special scissors, sewing machines, rotary cutters, batting, etc.

It was dark when the room was all put together just as was supposed to be. He checked the plan one final time.
When he finished he said, “You always said you liked hand done presents better than store-bought ones.”

Thanks Robbie.

Love, Mom

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Treasure Excavated

I’ve been working very hard sorting and moving my fabric stash to new, larger cupboards. My reward for digging deep was finding this marvelous appliquéd and embroidered parrot piece made by Mary M. Davidson in the 1980s. Mary lived in Plymouth, Massachusetts. She taught stitching and wrote a book called Plimoth Colony Samplers.

I purchased the piece in 1999 on eBay from a woman named Kara who found it in Mary’s house. She gave me some background so I have a good provenance on the work. Kara said, “Mary Davidson was the stitcher, she lived next door to my parents in Plymouth… She taught classes at the Plimoth Plantation, wrote a book… and was a very well known authority on needlework. She was a neat lady, very independent… drove across the country in a convertible with girlfriends in the 1920! She died in 1987 and left her house and belongings to my parents. She saved everything, and when my sister bought her house from my parents we started going through all her things – boy is that a big job!”
You can click on the picture to see the stitches even better.

My new cupboards are filled now. Going from 28,168 cubic inches (16.3 cubic feet) to 48,372 cubic inches (28 cubic feet) was well worth the effort. I still have lots of room for more stash.

Remember the “before picture” with everything tumbling out of the old space and no room for little Gem?

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Debbe took the Queen

Debbe Holeman came by our place today and captured a bee swarm (including the queen, we hope). Debbe runs a “bee rescue” service in our area. Her business name is Knightsen Honey Company. Her business card says, “beeyond organic honey.” I like that.

Robert heard a lot of buzzing in our holly bush (ilex vomitoria) by the front porch a day or so ago. He looked around our property and spotted a good sized swarm at the back of our lot next door.
Debbe came and vacuumed up the swarm. We were not having any problems with the bees, but she promised to give them a good home.
Thanks Debbe (yes, that's how she spells her name).

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

48,372 CUBIC inches

Here are my new fabric stash cupboards ready to be filled. I’m going to try to get them filled tonight.
Tune in tomorrow.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Quilters' Art

Soon, very soon these delightful little quilts will adorn the walls in the new office/design space.

This little postcard is by Del Thomas. It is called Scarlet Sash (2007). It reminds me of Proverbs 31 which honors a woman who works with fibers.
Deborah Lacativa’s Back Street Rental (2005) amused me when I saw it online. Now I can get a kick out of it every day.
This elephant was made for me by my daughter-in-law Toni. It is supposed to be a potholder, but I’d rather keep it clean and enjoy it on my wall. (I think it was from a pattern by Margaret Rolfe.)
This is a good start on my “Quilt Collection” don’t you think? Tomorrow I’ll buy some hanging devices.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

My Views

When I look to the left from my desk in my new office I can see our little balcony and the meadow across the lane. And, when I look out the other window I have a view of Mt. Diablo (an important Contra Costa County landmark). Who could ask for anything more?

I’ve moved in and am ready for business. The funny thing is that after all this work the office/design area looks like an ordinary office. I’ll need to hang some art on the walls and find a lovely plant to perk it up.
Vicky asked about the bookshelves.
They are really neat wall-hung shelves. We’ve had them since we owned a bookstore in 1987 (Island Book Galley).
Same “helmet” hairdo 21 years ago, but nowadays it is white.

The shelves are hung on wood wall supports in an ingenious way. The components are very sturdy and can be arranged many different ways.
A fellow in Pittsburg, CA invented the shelves but he is no longer in business. We sold most of the shelves when we closed the bookstore, but we kept several units. Now, at long last, they are being enjoyed again. We will soon fill them up.

First day here and not one order or inquiry, but it’s a nice place to compose a blog post.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Moving in

The shelves are up.Putting on the baseboard was much like putting the binding on a quilt. Tomorrow I'll have a real office/design space. I am so excited.

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