Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Well, I didn't even make it into the box for jury duty, although I was in the room. whew! I got an hour of hand quilting done as I waited to be called to the courtroom. I spent the next 2 hours of jury selection wondering why so many of us were there. The job was to determine whether or not the County should continue as conservator for the schizophrenic old man. wow. I didn't realize that was a jury procedure. Learn something new every day.

I had enough time this afternoon to begin quilting Uncle Sam. I'm past the halfway point, and if all goes as planned, I'll be able to finish before noon. Goals are good and all that.

I'll check back in tomorrow. Don't forget to let me know if you've reached your June goal. So far I have Kay, Brenda and Kristin as making it. Anyone else?

Monday, June 29, 2009

So Much For Making Plans...

It's been a while since I posted. Sorry about that. I've been busy. yeah, you hear that a lot, right? The Uncle Sam quilt is basted, so that's one good thing. The carpenter came by with color swatches (stained wood) on Friday, and says he may be staining early this week. That's another good thing.

I have a whole day left in June, to finish Uncle Sam (ha!) and to meet my June Step goal (double ha!) but the Superior Court has other plans for me. "Report for jury duty at 9am." The best I can hope for is another episode of hanging out in the jury room quilting. I wouldn't mind jury duty so much, if I would actually make it into a courtroom or be seated on a jury. But I haven't sat on a jury since...1983. That was a L O N G time ago!!

On a lighter note, my husband took our College/Career group white water rafting on Saturday while I took pictures. It was our 28th wedding anniversary. Some people think that was an odd way to spend the day. It was fine by me. I had a barbecue waiting for them when they finished. If you can't spend the day with family, the next best thing is to spend it with those who are such good friends they seem like family.

Here's our group. Back row on the left is Adam, back row with the white (is it white?) helmet is Pete. I have no idea who that is in the bottom right front.

The group was split among three rafts. Pete's raft had the misfortune to get stuck repeatedly. The guide didn't want help unsticking them, so eventually they gave up and let her do it herself.

Oh look. There they are, stuck again. ;)

That's Adam, in the front of this raft. They also got stuck - for a brief moment - but were quickly on their way.

And here they are, off and rowing. It was more of an expedition than a white water trip, but the group said they had a fantastic time.

As for me, I'm thinking that I need to go back and work on my river quilt. I can hear it calling.

Instead, I'll perform my civic duty and hopefully be able to do it quickly. I'll let you know

Friday, June 26, 2009

HAD to sew!

I couldn't take it any longer. An empty room that used to be dedicated to sewing? I had to put it back in action. It didn't take as long to pull out the machine and ironing board as it did to find my red, white and blue fabrics.

A young man that we know joined the Army after high school. He's been to Iraq and back more than once; my kids let me know where he is and what he's up to. In December we received a wedding invitation, but were unable to attend. (The wedding was in Michigan.) I kept meaning to make them a quilt, but one thing or another kept it from the top of my list. I've got a year, right? But he's going to be in town, for an Open House next week. Time to get this project underway!

I knew that I had a box of patriotic blocks and such, boy was I shocked when I found it. There really wasn't very much in there. uh oh. What could I do with these? Those Uncle Sam blocks are from...1991. wow. They've been waiting for action for a LONG time. (The little guys were block-of-the-month - I won 6 of them. I've still got 4 left.)

I went through my stash, and found that I really have nothing in the way of "patriotic" fabric. That's kind of disturbing. I couldn't find a single piece of navy, other than a yard in my "solids" bin. Weird. I know what I need to shop for!

I eventually unearthed a Pledge of Allegiance fabric (the beige stripe), that I broke up with a red plaid and the navy. I would have been better off if I'd pulled out a ruler and made straight line cuts, but I was trying to "think outside the box." yeah, right. (Uncle Sam looks better with feet.)

I guess I didn't get a transition shot, but here's what I had about an hour ago.

And here's what I've got now. He also looks better with a beard.

Want to see that beard? Don't look too closely...

This is probably the least square quilt I've made in years. Every time I cut to square it, it seemed to distort more. I finally gave up.

Now I have a decision to make. Is it worth quilting? Should I give it to the newlyweds? Or should I come up with another option? Quilting often makes the quilt, so I should probably quilt it, before I decide. I've got 4 days, and on Tuesday, I've got jury duty, so I've really got 3 days.

Oh, and just so you know, I've been working steadily on my June Step (my Hoffman), but my progress has been tediously slow. I don't think I'll meet June's goal either.

The good news is that my carpenter came by this morning, with stain samples for my new sewing cabinetry. As he described the new sewing table, I got chills. The back will have a built in storage cabinet, accessible from the front, and the side will have 28" pull-out drawers. ooh la la, I can hardly wait. He says he hopes to start staining by early next week. Be still my heart!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sacred Threads

Many thanks to Lisa Ellis for taking the time to not only take pictures of my quilts but also to send them to me. Your efforts are MUCH appreciated!!!

"The Light Shines in the Darkness"
Suzanne Kistler 2007

"Psalm 46:10 Be Still"
Suzanne Kistler 2008

I still get a thrill any time I see someone stop and look at one of my quilts, especially one of my faith quilts. To God be the glory! :)

The Sacred Threads exhibit continues in Ohio through June 28, so if you have the opportunity to see it, take advantage! It won't be back until 2011...

Back at the ranch (figuratively speaking) my painting is finished. Today's plan is to put the design wall back in the room, and then, who knows? I might just try to SEW something!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Still Painting...

Strangely this picture reminds me of the Cheshire Cat - sans teeth. Maybe it's just the cat who swallowed the canary. On Sunday, I had 3 strapping young lads in the house, and I talked them into moving that hutch for me. woohoo! I can finish painting.

Yeah, painting. It sounds easy, but there's always prep, even if I just painted last week. First I had to wash the wall that had been covered by the furniture, then it was time to tape.

Once that's done, it really is time to paint. With only 2 walls without cutouts (no windows, no doors), it actually went pretty quickly. Before I knew it, I was to the end of the second wall. Better snap a picture. This isn't going to happen again any time soon.

And when we get to the last little bit, well, it's a bit difficult to tell what has been painted and what hasn't.

According to my afternoon light, the room is done. Tomorrow morning's sunshine might have different news for me, but I'm up for it.

On another note, I replaced a floor rug yesterday. Malcolm LOVES it. He's been flattening himself against it, perhaps thinking that I can't see him? Malcolm, it's not really camouflage. Your stripes are a bit smaller.

Maybe he just knew it was a great photo op...

uh oh. See that wooden floor? That's another project to add to the list for this summer. Must sand floor, stain and reseal.

But not today. I've done enough. ttfn!

Monday, June 22, 2009

On The Receiving End

I don't know about you, but I've been seeing a lot of cute aprons around Blogland. ooh aah, I love it! I rarely remember to wear an apron, and I've been in the midst of my Big Project, so I haven't thought all that much about them. But I do notice, every time I see another one.

Imagine my surprise last night, when one of our college/career girls brought me a bag. "I know it's Father's Day, but this is for you!" What could it be? She kept saying, "It's full of mistakes, don't look at it too closely." Well, that was enough for me to dive in and see what it was.

Look at me! Am I styling or what? Wow. I'm not so hot at self-photography...

Good thing Adam taught me how to do a 10 second delay...I don't know why the camera didn't focus, but I thought my composition was pretty effective...

And now that I've got my coffee, I'm ready to start my day.

Oh, and good news on the sewing room. No, it's not about the cabinets. Three strong young men moved the hutch for me last night, so I will be able to FINISH my painting in there this week. yay!!

P.S. It was drawn to my attention that I never did post a "finished" picture of my refaced cabinetry that was last summer's project. What do you think? Acceptable?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

If You Happen To Be In Ohio

I just want to remind you to visit the following quilt exhibit:

Sacred Threads 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Exhibit will be held at:

Reynoldsburg High School
6699 E. Livingston Ave.,
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068., Ohio

Hours for the exhibit will be:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday - 10am-4pm
Tuesday and Thursday - 10am-8pm
Sunday - 12 noon-4pm


I have two quilts in this biennial exhibit, which is SUCH a nice thing to think about as I stop thinking about the state of my studio. :) Hope you have a chance to swing by!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Doing It Yourself vs. Hiring a Professional...

aka "Hissing and Spitting 101."

You know, I've never been one to avoid doing things myself, but I'm more than happy to admit when I'm over my head.

I don't know much about blinds, other than my mom always used 3 Day Blinds. I did too, until they went out of business. I never had a problem with them.

I went around and around looking for a source for blinds. I was thrilled beyond measure to go to Lowe's on Thursday, and walk out with a set of real wood, oak-stained blinds, cut to measure. I was a bit nervous about the measuring part - if you've ever heard my trunk show, you know I have a serious measuring problem - but I thought that if we went 1/4" bigger, we'd be fine. As it turned out, I was right. sort of.

First off, I got home with the blinds and couldn't find the installation instructions. Trip #2 to Lowe's, to get a new copy. I eventually found the original, which was good, because the replacement was for a different kind of blinds.

But hey, I've installed blinds before. How hard can it be? Stop smirking.

Trip #3 to Lowes, to get a 1/16" drill bit, because Pete's seems to be missing...along with most of his drill bits, and his phillips head screwdriver, which I didn't discover until AFTER I drilled the holes. And found out that the screws included with the blinds were too long to screw into my window frame.

I'm tired of Lowe's, so let's take a trip to Orchard Supply. This is where I got the wrong-colored paint. I took that paint with me, to show them. She had several cans lined up, all with the same problem. One customer had ordered an aqua blue and received a distinctly green aqua paint. Something is messed up with their computerized paint machine. I'm sticking with the color I ended up with, but if I gain 15 pounds, I'm blaming them. I suddenly have a continual craving for coffee ice cream.

Anyway, back to OSH, where I bought screws and phillips head screwdrivers. (I bought one for myself, AND an extra set of drill bits, so that when I need them I will be able to find them. I going to hide them. No one will know...)

woohoo! I put the blinds up, they fit, they look ... not so great. And they don't fit either.

The window is narrower at the base than it is at the top, so although the top fit, the last 12" scraped the sides of the window opening. Not only that, but the side of the blind slats that show? On both sides they are splintered and ugly. The back is nice and smooth. Phooey on that!

This morning I packed them up again and marched back to Lowe's. (We're talking trip #5, to get these things hung.) I asked her to shave off 1/4" (she ended up cutting 1/4" from each side), and I asked her to cut them in the other direction, to avoid the splintering. no can do. It's a one-way machine. The fronts of the slats are still splintered. This afternoon, I will sand and stain the edges, to see if I can make it less noticeable. (I paid how much for this aggrevation?!!)

Here's another benefit of having the blinds cut a second time. I would never make such a knotty mess of the cords. It took me about 20 minutes to unravel this. arg.

Here's a picture of the current state of the cords - I braided them to keep them from tangling. I hate tangled cords! ;)

Did I mention that they can cut the width of the blinds, but adjusting the length is up to the buyer? It's true. I just spent the last two hours cutting off the bottom 12" of the blinds, following their step by step instructions. Unfortunately, I'm still one slat too many. Am I going to fix it? Are you kidding me?

Here's what my view is now like, from the sewing room.

Here's what it looks like inside. Since I have so much time on my hands, I'm going to repaint the sandbar white walls with semi-gloss. Does anyone else get the feeling that this studio creation is an exercise in futility? ;)

I need something to make me smile. How about a picture of my Joy Boy? This is Adam, taken last month. In his position, I would be freaking out, but he knows how to have a good time, no matter WHAT his circumstance!

As to the title of the post? Which is better? dyi or hiring someone? In my current state of mind, I'm totally understanding why people allow their homes to sink into disrepair. Neither option has been particularly enjoyable, although I have to say, having something/anything DONE does feel good...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Things To Make Me Smile

Yesterday was a tough day. I can't believe how disappointed I was by the update from my carpenter. I'm no longer certain that he's going to build my cabinetry. Even though he said the words, he didn't sound convincing. I'm not even sure he believed himself as he said them.

Today I was stuck at home for hours, waiting for the roofers to come by and give estimates.

Yes folks, this is how we celebrate another college graduation: we've exchanged tuition payments for home improvement/restoration. If you want to know my opinion, paying tuition is easier. The kids know/knew what we expect/ed, and they never fail/ed to deliver. Independent contractors are a whole other story.

Some of them are good, some are not so good. I got a call today from a GOOD one. ohmygosh!!

Several months ago I'd talked to Mel about building a CHERRY (yes, it's REAL wood!!) display case for my quilts. I've grown weary of the stack of quilts wrapped in sheets, tossed in the corner of the room. They need to be out in a place where they can be seen. (It is finished with polyurethane, to protect the fabric from wood oils.)

He looked at the cabinets I currently use to store my stash (the parts that aren't in bins), and then designed this GORGEOUS piece of furniture. I can hardly believe it is real. He (and Pat) delivered it today. I can't believe he made it for me! It is a dream come true. His timing was perfect, and I am blessed beyond belief.

This was where I was planning to put it, but I'm thinking that it would be better to move it to the entry and move that bench (that you can just see the edge of) onto the carpet. or not. For now I'm happy just to sit and look at it. I'm not ready to fill it with quilts. It is beautiful just as it is. I LOVE it!!!

The next thing that makes me smile is that I actually got the blinds up this evening. Yesterday's attempt to hang them was a nightmare. Today I bought shorter screws and a phillips head screwdriver. They made the task MUCH easier. Tomorrow I will shorten the blind, it's about 12" too long. I'm too tired to do it right now, I might make a mistake.

Did you see the other thing that makes me smile? I couldn't take it any longer. I HAD to sew SOMETHING. It didn't matter what it was, as long as it was sewing. I grabbed a box of stray strips and started sewing them together randomly. It took less than 5 minutes to stop fretting about the things I was NOT accomplishing as I was waiting for the roofers to arrive. (Two out of three came - I guess #3 doesn't need the business?)

Finally, here is something else that makes me smile. These two don't look alike, but they are peas in a pod. Naptime (a daily 7-8 hour ordeal) finally ended and they want out. They come to the slider and wait patiently to be noticed.

Come on, Mom, PLEASE let us out! There's so much to do out there.

Can you see from this picture? They barely got past the doormat before they plopped down to survey their domain.

Guys? Guys? Can I get your picture?

I have the feeling they are sick and tired of the paparazzi.

And that's it for today. I hope I made you smile as well! Now it's off to do some hand quilting. (I got in another 3 hours yesterday. I'm actually making visible progress.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No More Hurry, Just "Hurry Up and Wait"


I spoke with the carpenter this morning. He has barely begun cutting cabinet doors, and he has done nothing in the way of progress in building my cabinetry. His time line continues at a steady "one to one and a half weeks." Some things never change, his estimate is one of them. I am NOT happy.

I am unable to budge the hutch. I guess one of the "good" parts of this continued delay is that one of my boys will be home in 10 days. He can move the hutch at that time. The additional time also means that I can repaint the walls with semi-gloss enamel, if I'm so inclined. (I did mention that I thought I had semi-gloss enamel and instead I painted with satin, right?)

I spent a little over an hour at the dentist this morning. That's usually one of my least favorite places to be. Today was completely different. He numbed me in one shot (a true modern day miracle), and by the time my hour was up, he had my new crown in the milling machine, being cut from a block of porcelain. It was FASCINATING! I even told him it was worth the price of admission, then I asked him where he parked his spaceship. (Previous dental encounters have involved at least 1/2 dozen shots and then 3 weeks of waiting for the crown to be crafted out of town.) He just laughed. I think he's 1/4 dentist and 3/4 engineer...

So. Between my ordeals with the dentist and the carpenter, I was seeking something of beauty. It was waiting for me, right outside my front door. Can you see it?

These pictures were taken through the window, before my camera died and demanded new batteries. (I just changed them last Friday! I guess I used my camera too much during graduation.)

I don't know what kind of hummingbird this is. He appeared to have a jet black head with a splash of red behind his cheek. What a treat!

And on that, I'm going to have to decide what I'm going to do about quilting. I have suddenly gone from a quilting diet to a quilt fast in the blink of an eye. I have no idea when I will be back in business, or even back to any machine work whatsoever.

What was I thinking when I jumped into sewing room overhaul? Why didn't someone shake me and tell I was crazy?! I guess Studios are for artists, not for me. sigh.

Maybe that phone call was all a bad dream, but I suspect it wasn't. big sigh. Now what am I going to do? I have no idea. Please bear with me as I attempt to regain my bearings.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Still Almost Ready...

The last of the fabric has been extricated from the soon-to-be Studio. (Again, notice that capital "S" in Studio!)

I need to remove the hutch and paint behind it. Sorry about the blur, for some reason the flash won't work. Must be the new batteries. >:(

I also need to remove the sewing table, but I'm finding it to be a convenient catch-all for paint accessories. Notice that I had to dig out the ironing board and use it today. I didn't use it for anything fun. sigh.

When I emptied the hutch, I found that I could not put one more thing into the Sewing Annex. It is stuffed.

I had to open a Second Sewing Annex. groan. In a moment of brilliance, I stumbled over a suitcase. Hey!! It's tough to see, but these four suitcases are filled with fabric from the hutch.

The rest of the hutch stash is on the bed.

Can anyone explain to me exactly WHY I was looking on eBay AND etsy for a particular goldfish fabric this morning? Surely I must have SOMETHING that would work in its place!!

On a lighter note, this picture is for Gwen and Matt.

Matt, I am so honored that you read my blog! If you're looking for pictures of cats, I'm more than willing to post them. (from L to R: Hecate, Charlie, and Edgar) Malcolm is in the house, being a pill.

OH! I almost forgot!!

I have a message on my answering machine from the carpenter. I tried calling him back, but he didn't answer his phone. Are the cabinets done? Are they? huh? huh? Are they done? Are they done?

If they are, I'd better get that hutch away from the wall and paint behind it.

Which reminds me. I was TOTALLY BUMMED this morning, when I realized that the white (sandbar) paint that I used wasn't semi-gloss. It's satin. The brown is semi-gloss, doggone. oh well, I guess I wouldn't want a shiny ceiling, and the design wall and new cabinetry should cover MOST of the offending dull white walls...


It's always something...

I want to be done with this!

Which reminds me...I haven't gotten around to ordering a new set of mini-blinds. arg! Tomorrow is another day...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Almost Done?

I'll tell you right now, I'm not talking about quilting. I'm talking about painting.

I just finished cleaning up from today's exertion. My poor hand. See my blisters? Do you feel sorry for me? haha. If you do, it should be because I still need to empty the cabinet in the background, and move it to the other end of the house, then paint the part of the wall that is currently inaccessible. I have no idea how I'm going to accomplish this. All of my big strong boys have their muscles in other parts of the state. None are here to help their mama.

See? I wasn't pulling your leg about the painting. The white paint on the tape is my proof. I'll wait for it to dry before I peel it off. I hope it didn't bleed. If it did, there may be trouble. ;)

See? I painted this wall too. And the ceiling. My part in creating this Studio - wow! I used the word STUDIO and meant it! - is almost done. I hope the carpenter lives up to his press. :)

I've fallen behind on my "hand quilt 15 days in June" goal, I think I've only done it 5 or 6 of the first 16 days. I plan to get a lot done this week, while I wait for the carpenter. I did quilt yesterday, really I did. Maybe I could pretend that the Hoffman is due by the 21st. Theoretically I could get a lot of quilting done in the next few days... hmmm.

While I dream of sewing, my husband dreams of cows and everything associated with them.

This little accessory showed up last in my garage last night. I collect quilt stuff, he collects cow stuff. Anybody want to guess what this is? It is NOT a rocket part! ;)

That's about it for now. I am worn out from painting - fade, fade - so I think I will pull out the chaise lounge and read by the pool.

I was joking, but you know? That sounds REALLY good. ttfn!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Is This Normal?

I had good intentions today. My plan was to do more painting. I got as far as taping the walls. I didn't put any paint on them. Maybe tomorrow.

When I went out the garage, I saw this.

I've been told it's fox scat. (black, with berry seeds) I do know that our neighborhood has foxes. One neighbor thinks they are a threat to anything that moves. The others think the foxes are fascinating. The foxes have been here as long as we've been here (15 years) and we haven't had any problems.

The funniest thing is that I hadn't seen scat at our house for months. Last night we heard strange rustlings outside our bedroom window. My husband asked what it was, I laughed and said, "Maybe it's foxes." voila! This morning we have a deposit on the driveway. Lovely.

Later, I went out the bathroom door, and saw this.

You would think that we live in a wilderness area, what with the foxes and black widows! This is our fourth black widow in less than 3 weeks. Good thing the bugman is coming tomorrow. I'll ask him to be extra clever where he sprays.

One task that I did accomplish was to ship a package to my boy. I had to use a dolly to get it into the post office. When the clerk asked what it was...I told him "scrap metal." He laughed. "That's what happens when you raise engineers. They ask you to ship them scrap metal." Again, he laughed.

The most amazing thing is that it only cost $10.35 to ship this. I LOVE flat rate boxes. Had I used a regular box, it would have been more than $20...

I guess the best thing I've accomplished so far this week is to deplete one more little pile of stuff that had no storage place.

As to the sewing room, I still have 2 walls and a ceiling that need fresh paint. If the carpenter adheres to his last week's prediction, the cabinets will be ready this week. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict my future: tomorrow I see paint. Lots of paint. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another Graduation

We took another whirlwind trip - 34 hours - this weekend, this time to Davis. It was the occasion of our third college graduation, which was pretty fun.

This young man was awarded a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering...provided that his last two classes are offered this summer and he completes them as planned. He's ready to be done, and is willing to hurtle over any obstacle in his path.

Here is much of the family, gathered together to celebrate. Our youngest asked me how it felt to be the mother of 3 graduates...I asked him how it felt to be the only one in the group without a degree. (These eight people represent eleven degrees, all from the University of California...2,0,2,1,1,1,1,3...wow.) No wonder dinner table conversation involved electron fields and calculus...

Here's a candid shot...

And another one. This is my dad, in the foreground. I don't think he knows he's posted on the web...

And this is our daughter and her husband. Isn't this a nice picture? :)

I have dozens more, but I'll save them. Facebook wouldn't let me post pictures this morning, so thank you for indulging me and allowing me to share the day with the world.

Now it's back to that soon-to-be studio and worrying about paint. This has been a very pleasant interlude!