Getting back to Normal, Whatever that is!

The house is slowly getting back to normal. The last three months of living out of my master bedroom were really interesting, to say the least. I felt so cooped up. The one bright spot is that I realized I could live in a much smaller space if I really ever needed to. The two that actually seemed to enjoy it were the cat and dog. Both hung out with me as I either worked on my hand sewing project or on the computer. 

The one bright spot in all of this is that the house is looking better than ever. I guess that is the message in life too. Whenever something bad happens, something better almost always comes out of it. 

 

When I picked the flooring 5 years ago, I had just purchased the house and hadn’t actually lived in it. I loved the flooring I picked but after living here I realized that the flooring needed to be lighter to brighten the whole place up so when I was told I had to replace the flooring I took the opportunity to get a lighter floor than what I had originally picked. I was a little worried about my choice as I made my decision on the flooring in under 30 minutes. I know that would seem a ridiculously short amount of time for some people, as I know some people hum and haw for days.

Nope, not me. Still, I did wonder if I made the right decision. I need not have worried though as it turned out great. I guess all my quilter colour training has paid off in some ways! Ha!

Finally quilting again

I am loving having my studio back in order and finished two quilt tops. I have one on the frame now and am so enjoying quilting again! I don’t think I realized how much I missed using my long arm. I just have to quilt the border of the quilt but haven’t decided what design I want to use. I have two completely different themes running around in my head. I need to sketch them out a little more.

Once the quilt on the frame is finished then it’s onto the Vintage Hearts quilt. Now that I have finished appliqueing the quilt top the last thing I want to do is have the top sitting around forever so the sooner I get that thing completely finished the better! I can’t wait!

Last Word

Age is only a state of mind, you are as young as you think. Laliah Gifty Akita

This quote has been brought home to me a lot lately. I have recently taken a temporary job at a contact centre where I am taking calls helping people. It is amazing to me how many people say to me on the call, “oh I am too old to use a computer” and then when it comes to their birthdate they are 10 years younger than me! What!! Seriously, well, I guess you’re old if you think you are! I’m so glad I believe in continuous learning I would hate to talk myself out of learning new things.

Keep learning and growing!

The Rebuild

 

Well, things are finally getting put back together. In fact, by the end of next week (fingers crossed) I should have my house back in order.

The quilting room is all back and better than ever! It was a good opportunity to go through the many books, magazine, patterns and other things I have collected over the years and get rid of anything I know I will never use. What with that and the concentrated effort to use up what I had last year I was actually able to get rid of lots of extra baskets and bins that I now no longer need. This has made the room feel not so overly cluttered. 

The upstairs

The upstairs is finally getting worked on as well. All of the upstairs flooring (except the bathrooms) got removed last week and new carpet placed in the bedrooms and on the stairs. The house looks so empty with no furniture.

Today they start laying the new flooring down in the upstairs of the house. This should be finished by tomorrow and then it’s just baseboards, finishing details and furniture to be moved back in. I am so glad to be getting to the end of this.

Bonnie Hunter Mystery

Did anyone do the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt? I used to do the mystery quilt every year. The first time I did the mystery quilt I loved the quilt. The second-year I thought it was ok, but it wasn’t my colours so gave it to the church for a raffle. The person who won the quilt loved it and it was her colours so that worked out great.

The third-year I did the mystery quilt I thought the quilt was, well not ugly exactly, but not great either. There wasn’t enough negative space for me, so the quilt was super busy. I even toned the quilt down by keeping the neutrals very neutral, but it was still way to busy a quilt pattern for me.

After that experience, I don’t do the mysteries anymore. If I am going to put that much time and effort into something, I want to like the finished project. I keep all of the steps and follow along, but I wait to find out if I like the quilt first before deciding whether I will make it or not. There have been a few in the last couple of years that I have really liked and have earmarked to do however I can say I am so glad I didn’t do this year’s quilt. I am not sure what it is about this one I don’t like. I think it’s the colours, I may play around with the design in Electric quilt and see if I can come up with something that would work better for me as I have tons of scraps that do need to be used up.

Bonnie is the scrappy quilt queen for sure, but sometimes I like just a little more calmness in my quilts where hers can be so super busy for me. Just a little too much going on and that’s ok. That’s why there is many different types of quilts and quilters.

My works in progress

Since I didn’t have a quilting studio and a lot of my stuff was in storage for 3 months, that gave me lots of time to work on the endless applique project. My vintage Valentine which was a hand applique project I started over 15 years ago now. It was supposed to be a block of the month. Well it turned out to be more of a block of the year with a few years completely skipped.

The top is completed now. Can I hear a drum roll please?! Seriously, I am so happy this thing is finished and now let the actual quilting begin. Now that I have my long arm machine back up and running this will be the first project on the list to be put on the frame and completed.

Will I ever do another hand applique project? Well, never say never. I have a project I am working on now that has small bits of hand applique and that is doable, however I sincerely doubt I will ever tackle this size of project again. I may end up dead before it ever gets completed.

I have another project that I need to finish as well. It was one of my kits I had earmarked to finish for 2019 however the “flood” kind of interrupted that. I have had this kit sitting around since 2005. 

Why I have had these kits sitting around for so long without just getting in and making them beats me. I still have 3 more kits left to finish. One is a very simple project I picked up in Hawaii 5 years ago and the other two I have had for about 10 years however both of those are far more complex as one is another Judy Niemeyer quilt and the other a Pam Bono project.

The last project I am working on is a Jinny Beyer Block of the month from 2015. I had purchased the main Jinny Beyer border fabric many years ago and found most of the co-ordinating fabrics in my stash. I won’t have enough of the border fabric to use as an actual border around the quilt as per the pattern but that is ok with me, so we’ll see how this turns out.

So, what are you working on? Did you attempt the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt this year? If yes, do you like it? Let me know in the comments below.

So it Starts!

It’s official! Yup, we have entered a whole new year!

What will this new year bring I wonder? Do you look at the new year with dread or with possibilities?

I think in the past I always looked at the new year with well, maybe not dread, but maybe you know, same old same old, wishing and hoping things would change but not really believing it or doing anything to actually make the change.

Now, it’s 2020 and I am sitting here with so many possibilities in my life. Many I couldn’t even have dreamed of when my world literally fell apart. They say things happen for you not to you and whenever you look back on your life you can see that. You can’t see it when it’s happening to you.

One of the reasons I have been so silent on this blog this last season is that in October we had a flood. Not just any flood either. The townhouse complex where I live happens to be directly across from a fire hydrant. Now you might be saying, hey how lucky can you get however we weren’t so lucky that day in October. 

You see, the fire hydrant was due to be replaced and so everything was arranged. Kevin and I heard the machinery come in the morning and didn’t think too much about it. Then, Kevin had to go downstairs for something. “Hey Janice, we have water pouring in down here”! Wait what!!

 Kevin went to go outside and stopped dead in his tracks. Oh, my we have water coming in the front door too. He put his rubber boats on which go to his knees to slug through the lake that had developed by our front door and the water was so deep it flowed over his boots.

 Turns out the pipe in the ground burst and the company doing the work (whom I can’t name at present) hadn’t done their due diligence and had no idea how to turn the water off. It was Kevin who phoned 911 and got hold of the fire department who in turn got hold of the city to have the water shut off. Meanwhile 30 minutes of water rushing through our unit and under the street caused a LOT of damage.

 There ended up being damage to over 11 units with our unit and the one next door to us having the worst of it.

 My quilting studio had to be completely dismantled and we are only now getting things put back together. We still have to have all new flooring laid in the upstairs of our unit so this nightmare isn’t over yet.

 Someone actually had the audacity to say to me, well aren’t you lucky you get all new floors for free. Well, it’s not actually free, there is the time, stress, Insurance companies, inconvenience as well as deductible costs among many other things. Not to mention the fact that I LIKED my floors and didn’t actually need new ones. Ok maybe the ugly carpet on the stairs needed replacing but having a flood is a hell of a way to get that replaced.

Click on below images to see larger view. 

 

What about Quilting

How did all of this affect my goal to complete as many older quilt projects as I could for 2019? Well, it did put a damper on it for sure. However, I did manage to finish a few and here are the finished pics.

Click on below images to see a larger view. 

The other thing it forced me to do was finish my hand applique project I have been working on for over 15 years. I have actually finished the top except for the borders. As soon as I get my studio back together and access to my long arm I am going to have to get this one quilted.

Well, that’s the update from me, hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and back ready to tackle more quilty projects for 2020.

 

Finishing Frenzy and Travel Updates

Whew, those Japan posts took a lot to put together. I’m so glad I did though as now I have a great reminder of what a great trip it was.

So, what’s been going on around here since I finally finished up the trip. Well, as I think I mentioned in my last blog post-Mom and I headed back to Seattle for my cousin’s wife’s funeral. Since we had driven down last time, we decided to take the Seattle/Victoria clipper this trip. It takes just under 3 hours one way. The seas were calm, and it was a great trip both ways.

Funerals are never fun, the best thing about them is catching up with family afterwards and there was a lot of that happening. My sister and her husband picked Mom and me up at the Seattle Clipper terminal and we headed down to Renton where my cousin lives.

There were two services, one Friday night and one Saturday morning. On Sunday we headed back home.

Otter Family Victoria Clipper Dock

Mom and I enjoying the Clipper Ride home

Toronto Bound

The next weekend I was off to Toronto for a business conference with my online digital marketing group where I met up with some great friends. Needless to say, that was a fabulous weekend. I had so much fun and learned a lot as well.

The conference was held in downtown Toronto so there was 5 of us that shared an Airbnb condo in the heart of Toronto. It was really convenient from the airport, one train from the airport and then less than a 5-minute walk to the condo. Perfect!

We had a great view of the CN tower and glimpses of the lake, couldn’t really ask for much more! This was my first time ever in Toronto so I found it fascinating. The conference was held in the Globe and Mail Centre on the top floor. Wow, what a view of the city you get from there. Too bad the winters are so cold there. Maybe next time I will get to Niagara Falls.

On the Quilting Front

On the quilting front, I have been finishing up projects some that have been sitting around for years.

Judy Niemeyer Wedding Ring Star Quilt that has been a top for almost 5 years

I Spy Quilt that I started at least 7 years ago

A little Victoria Golf Course wall hanging designed by Susan Teece

And last but not least Blended Beauty which was a kit that myself and two of my long-time quilting buddies purchased together. Heather finished hers years ago. Kelli used the fabric from the kit for other projects and I finally finished mine. It looks like I forgot to take a picture of the back of the quilt before I handed it to the church as their raffle quilt. It turns out there was so much fabric leftover in those fat quarters from the kit I was able to piece together all of the remnants and just use two smaller pieces from my stash to make the quilt back. The quilt back is almost as pretty as the front.

So that brings us somewhat up to date. I still have two quilts to quilt and 5 or 6 more kits left to complete. Not sure if I will get them all done before the end of 2019 but I will try.

Final Days of the Trip Disney Sea

This was to be a travel day to our last destination. Karen had been fighting a cold the last couple of days and this morning I woke up not feeling so well. Since travelling on the trains in Japan wearing a mask is more the norm than not, both Karen and I decided to travel like locals and wore masks. Anywhere else I would have felt totally out of place.

We arrived at our destination just afternoon and found a taxi to take us to our hotel. After checking in we decided to scope the place out and see where exactly Disney Sea was. I was feeling a little better by this time. When we found Disney Sea we discovered no lines at all. Karen had already purchased her ticket online for the next day however I still hadn’t purchased mine yet and was debating doing that but decided against it in case I wasn’t well. That proved to be a good move on my part.

However, as mentioned there were no lines this afternoon and I was feeling not bad and the park was open until 10:00 pm so I decided to go into the park and see it while it wasn’t that busy. Karen joined me at 6:00 pm as she could get into the park for half price then.

We had a great time touring the park and seeing the sights until almost closing time. The next morning Karen went by herself as I wasn’t feeling all that great and we were flying home the next day.

(remember to click on the red arrow to see all of the pictures)

Farewell to Japan and a Fantastic Trip

So that was our trip, it was a fantastic trip and I loved Japan the first time I went and I fell in love with Japan even more on this trip. It is on my list to go back and visit some different areas that we didn’t get to see and maybe spend even more time in Kyoto.

I hope you enjoyed travelling virtually with me as much as I enjoyed looking back over my time there. Having these blogs will be a great reminder of a very special trip.

Mom and I are heading back to Seattle this weekend for Beth’s funeral. I think I mentioned in a much earlier post that family only seems to gather during weddings and funerals.