My bench

Kevin took Mom to visit her sister in NC for the first time since COVID now that they’re all fully vaccinated and they stopped by the cemetery in Newport News (VA) to visit my Dad’s and sister-in-law’s graves. Mom got to see my bench and they sent me a photo.

You might remember back in August 2019, Mom and I did a road trip and one of the reasons for the trip was so I could make cemetery arrangements for me and Keith. We had debated for a long time where we wanted our ashes buried. We’ve moved so much in our 32 years together and had no strong feelings about being buried in any of those locations. When I suggested the same cemetery my Dad was buried in, Keith thought it was a great idea. I was very happy to be able to have the bench where our ashes will be interred placed in the same section of the cemetery my Dad is in.

The bench is along the edge of this graveyard and Dad is more in the center and off to the right but you can sit here and see his grave. Here’s a photo from our trip in 2019 – I’m standing at the place the bench will be and Mom is standing in front of Dad’s grave. It makes me happy to know we’ll be close by!

Bins and batting

Keith went to pick up the UHaul this morning and it took us about 2 hours to carry the bins down and load it up. I think there are about 40 bins of various sizes … and all but one roll of my batting. Luckily, he’s still smiling! We’ll put a few smaller bins in the back seat of his truck and I’ll cross my fingers that everything else will fit on the moving truck in June.

Those bins filled 2 and a half closets and I haven’t even packed the fabric on the IKEA shelves yet. I’m definitely going on a fabric and yarn diet!

I am going to miss the closet space in this house. There are 5 closets in the sewing room alone. Having all of this done is great progress and a huge relief.

Books

I love books that take me to other places and times … and its always fun to read about a place I’ve actually been. I started a book tonight set in Venice which made me think about our trip to Italy in 2012. We started and ended in Venice.

I’m usually the planner but this trip we went with Keith’s brother and sister-in-law and his brother planned out our itinerary. I was a little worried about the amount of travel from place to place. Usually we travel at a more leisurely pace but I think they felt they might not ever go back and they wanted to see it all. It turned out great and because we traveled by train from city to city, it seemed more relaxed. I do love a train journey! Believe it or not after all these years, I even found my spreadsheet with all the details of our itinerary. I tend to be very organized and I like my lists!

Now that I’ve looked at my photos and shared my memories, it’s time to get back to my book!

Step by step

I’m feeling good about my progress today … each time we organize another step in the process, I feel better. Today it was meeting with the realtors. Keith has a local business acquaintance/friend who referred us to this realtor and I was very happy with our meeting today. He brought a partner and the two of them were very positive about the house and the market and I just liked them. We’ll have a call on Monday to discuss pricing and next steps but I think we’re on our way to listing in about a week or so. I worked like crazy to get the house in good shape, decluttered and clean although you can certainly tell we’re in the process of prepping for a move. They didn’t stroke out about my sewing room which is great. It’s in the master bedroom and I don’t have any intention of trying to move things out of there until mid June so I admit I was happy to not get negative feedback about how the room would show as it is currently.

Tomorrow Keith will pick up a UHaul trailer and we’ll stuff it as full of bins of fabric and yarn as we can and he’ll drive to GA to unload it. I’ve already got plans to make some time for sewing next week. I have a project I need to work on for our family gift exchange that is due the end of May and I need to get cracking on it.

While I’m not sewing yet, I took a little time tonight to draft out an idea I have for a quilt. I want to remake some of my favorites from my website or in this case, combine a couple different ideas from two rail fence quilts. I’ve had this one in the back of my mind for a while and maybe I will actually get around to making it some time later this year or next year. These are the two quilts I’ve already made ….

I would probably go ahead and make it the same size as the RWB rail fence but this slightly smaller size would work for donation too. I haven’t decided whether I’d go scrappy like the autumn quilt above using many greens, golds, reds, and oranges or stick to fewer fabrics like the RWB quilt.

Knitting

I’m sure you’re bored with the decluttering process … it’s been two weeks since we got home and started. Progress has been good and except for some drawers and a downstairs closet, we’ve been through every room and closet. I’ve done some of the packing but it’s too early to pack up everything – what’s left will be easy – no sorting, just putting in the boxes and bins. I’ve also been doing some cleaning and hopefully things will be fairly neat on Friday afternoon when the realtor comes by.

I have kind of a one track mind so while my focus has been on the move there has been very little piecing or knitting going on. During the first week I did get started on some Log Cabin Heart blocks and got 14 made before deciding the string piecing process was just TOO messy. I packed the blocks and the rest of the hearts away and will get back to it once I’m settled in GA. This one is going to be busy and maybe Mom was right that the neutral backgrounds for the hearts will work better but I’m going to wait until the quilt is done to judge it.

So this second week, after finishing my work for the day/evening, I’ve picked up my knitting. It may be hard to tell in this photo but it’s growing slowly but surely … I’m knitting a couple hours most nights now and it helps me unwind a bit from the stresses of the day and listening to a Lightning hockey game or my audiobook lets me turn it all off for a little while. The transitions are more subtle in person and I’m really liking these blues and grays together. It’s a simple stockinnette stitch with a garter stitch border. Mindless knitting.

Up and down

I had been feeling really good about my progress until Keith cleared out the “closet behind the closet” for me pulling out another stack of bins to sort through and I spent the afternoon and evening sorting and shredding. It’s always a huge task with each move to shred papers and documents no longer needed but I’d really thought I’d been better this time around. Each year at tax time, I go though our papers and shred anything that doesn’t need to be kept. What I failed to consider was the last time I shredded documents with a move in 2014, there were lots of things I needed to keep at the time but fast forward to 2021 and guess what, lots more paper to shred. For example, I had 14 years worth of vet visits and vaccination records for Chesty. He was still alive when we moved to Tampa so I didn’t shred any of his stuff in 2014 although I’m not sure why I thought I needed to keep EVERY vaccination record as opposed to just the current one. Anyway, I just have one more bin of records to review and then I’ll combine them into fewer bins to keep for another 5-10 years! It would go faster if there weren’t so many memories in them. There were a handful of Chesty’s papers that I did keep.

I’m tired but if I can just get through this week I’ll be able to take it a little easier. The hardest part will be done and I can more leisurely deal with the rest of the move. I’m so glad we’re doing this now. Even though I’ve moved often in my life, for some reason this one is more exhausting … maybe it’s just that I’m getting older?!

They’re waiting for me

My camera notifications were going off repeatedly this morning and afternoon but I was busy … on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor and then shredding another 2 tons of documents. I also got a phone call from the movers and we have a confirmed date with them to pick up here and deliver to Big Canoe mid June. So when I took a break to see what was going on at the house … I was thrilled to see all my visitors from today up close and personal … I think they’re looking for me don’t you?!

3 Yard Quilts

I’ve had a bunch of questions about the 3 yard quilts so I thought I’d answer them here. HeartStrings quilters are working on them now but we don’t have just one pattern we’re using or any real specific guidelines. We’re just making and sharing them.

Most of them are coming from the Fabric Cafe books but my Quick Strippies “count” in my book too because you pull 3 coordinating fabrics for them. I have two of the Fabric Cafe books. Fast and Fun 3 Yard quilts and Easy Peasy 3 Yard quilts and I’ve used 3 patterns in addition to my quick Strippie for the 6 tops I’ve made so far.

  • top left and top middle are Town Square – from the Easy Peasy book
  • top right is Brick Street – from the Fast and Fun book
  • bottom left and bottom middle are Easy Street – from the Easy Peasy book
  • bottom right is one of my Quick Strippies

One thing to note is that when following the patterns exactly, they use small narrow borders on many of them and a single fold binding. I like to either leave one or more of the narrow borders off to have enough fabric for my usual double fold binding if I’m working with exactly 3 yards, or in some cases I have more yardage of one of the fabrics, OR as Ann, one of HeartStrings members suggested, use 4 fabrics to give you some flexibility – that’s what I did with the quilt in the middle on the bottom. I was able to use 4 fabrics which made that one a little larger too. At any rate, I’ve been using some of the patterns from the books but am adapting the borders/binding to suit my style and fabric amounts.

All of these were quick and easy to piece in an afternoon and make cute quilts for donation or gifting. Because I’ve been making my Quick Strippies for years, I have a small stash of Novelty fabrics for kids quilts that work well with these patterns but other more “adult” prints work too like the floral used in the top right quilt. None of these are huge, I’d call them all lap size, some a little larger than others but the books do give you cutting directions for making larger twin and queen size quilts … you just double or triple the yardage. Some HeartStrings members are also playing with making smaller quilts with half yards or using fat quarters. There are lots of options.

Another idea

So pulling that fabric to bundle those 3 yard quilts gave me another idea. Since one of my goals this year is to make more scrap quilts, I’m going to pull a group of scraps before I pack them all up and put them in a bin together so when it’s time to start something, I won’t have to search through individual bins sorted by color to get a group of fabrics together. I did this last December to take to Big Canoe and made these two quilts. You can see the pile of fabrics I started with on the bottom right of the photo. I still have plenty of those scraps but if I pull more, I’ll be able to work from that bin for multiple scrap quilts. I can even pull some border choices and toss them in the bin too. Many of my quilts don’t have borders but it’s nice to have some easy options available.

Between precuts, the 3 yard bundles, and a big bin of color coordinated scraps, I’ll be set for projects for the rest of the year! And that doesn’t even take into account that I’ve got 2 bins with quilt kits that are easy to grab and sew. Yep, I’m feeling better! I’ve got a plan for getting back to work quickly once we get moved while I adapt to the changes in storing my stash and figure out what kind of organization will work best.

Better

Today was a better day for sure! I was a bit discouraged yesterday but I think it must have been in part due to not feeling well. I woke up this morning feeling fine and got back to work. The sewing room has been a mess while I’ve been working in there but I wanted the room to be presentable before the moving guy comes tomorrow. That meant clearing away the mess in the string piecing corner! Look how neat it is.

See all those empty bins in the corner?! I had so many of them with leftover bits and pieces of projects just tucked away and they’ve all been dealt with … I can’t tell you the last time all these bins were empty … Keith calls me a Bin Ho … can you see why? And these are just the open bins, the ones without lids! I’m going to ask the moving guy can I use these bins for moving all the books. It will be much easier for me than having to box them up plus these bins are going anyway, they might as well work their way there. We did have one move where I moved books in bins rather than boxes so I’m hoping he says yes.

My HeartStrings group has been working on 3 yard quilts. I made some in March and earlier this month while I was at Big Canoe but when a few members were sharing their most recent tops today, I had the bright idea that it would be easy to bundle fabrics for more 3 yard quilts together in a bin while my fabric is still on open shelves. I intend to keep my fabric in bins in GA. We’re in the woods there and while we have a pest control service and I’ve only seen a couple bugs in the downstairs terrace level in the year we’ve had the place I just feel more comfortable … however it will be a bigger challenge digging through the bins when I am ready to start a project. After our move from Minneapolis, my stash lived at our Big Canoe condo and it stayed in bins for 4 years so I have a pretty good idea of what I’ll be dealing with. Anyway, this evening I started pulling fabric off the shelves and ended up with 14 – 3 yard bundles. Some of the pieces are bigger than a yard so that’s 42++ yards of fabric pulled. I can piece one of these 3 yard quilts in an afternoon so making more of these tops will help me tame the stash too. When I finally get settled in at Big Canoe in June, I’ll be ready for some instant gratification. These will be quick and easy to piece. A couple of the larger prints will probably end up as Quick Strippies and I’ve got a few more prints that I’ll look for coordinating fabrics tomorrow.

It’s funny, yesterday I was stressed at the size of the stash … tonight I go in there and start pulling fabric after fabric and am able to bundle all of these because I do have a generous stash and it feels like a blessing rather than a burden. I guess it is both.