Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Scrap Room Progress

It's been a few months and the scrap room is coming along nicely! I'm now able to prime the walls (in progress) and this coming weekend, I'll be painting!  Here's a little tour, starting from the entry (most of these were taken before the drywall was taped and mudded):

Look, my grandson is helping me wash down the walls after sanding!

This is the main room about 19' x 12 - 225 sq. ft. of future fun! It is the old recreation room in my home, located in a daylight basement with a big window. We have also put in LED pot lights (on a dimmer!)

The second room comes off the main room forming an "L". We reconfigured the location of the hot water tank, and enclosed it in a room with the furnace, to create more usable space. This is what you see when you enter this room:

This room is about 12' x 8' at its widest point, with the alcove by the window about 4'x6' with the niche for a refrigerator by the window. Eventually, we'll put a corner sink and counters in for a coffee station. The floors are a nice thick vinyl planking, which adds warmth, ease of cleaning and are waterproof! I'm very fortunate to have a handy son-in-law, with the bonus of sharing the house with him, my daughter and grandson, so he doesn't mind doing the work.

And just for a bonus, this isn't the only area being worked on. My son-in-law has torn apart the main bath and is giving it an update as well. Good timing, as he is a teacher's aide and school has been closed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

How are you coping with the news? Here in our corner of BC, Canada, we are being told to self-isolate as much as possible, as we are just north of the outbreak in Washington state, and east of Vancouver and area which is the second hot-spot in Canada. Since my son-in-law is off work, he is in charge of the grandkids (his son and my other two granddaughters, who live just down the street). His wife, my oldest daughter, is still working for the moment, but will her office will probably be closing by week's end. 

In stressful times, I need to sew and so my grandson and I are working on a science-related quilt for his new double bed. I have a couple of rows of beakers, flasks and test-tubes to add to the for the top of the quilt, then its ready to be sent off for quilting! I'll share more about it in another post.

My office is closed to the public, and we only have 5 staff in the building at its highest capacity, so I am still going in every day, and so far, my workload hasn't changed. I manage an office that administers private mortgage companies, sells investments and I'm a mortgage broker as well, so there are a lot of calls these days! I've told my boss that I plan on working from the office, even if everyone stays home, just because it will be quieter there than at home with the grandkids and my son-in-law working on the renos. My other daughter and her husband are also still working, one is in a small office like mine, and her husband is an aircraft mechanic, so he is pretty busy for the time being as the company he works for has some good contracts that shouldn't be affected by the outbreak (he works on planes that provide fire-fighting services in the summer). Whatever happens, we will take care of each other and our elderly neighbours, and we will get through this. I hope you and yours do as well.

Spring is coming - my garden has many early bloomers already, and the mountains sparkle with the fresh snows of spring, and brighten my day. I hope they brighten yours as well.

Take care and listen to the professionals to stay safe!

Terri in BC

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

20 in 2020

It's that time of year again - to take stock of where I am and what I want to do in the coming year.  Last year was a bit of a writeoff, my old friend Depression took hold as I mourned the 20th anniversary of my mother's cancer diagnosis (at the same age I am today) while still suffering the PTSD trigger of the #MeToo movement. After a joyous, soul-filling and restful Christmas break, I am feeling stronger and happier as each day passes.

I've picked my word for the year. After revisiting some previous options, such as Focus, Complete or Joy, I have settled on "Thrive". The first two words seem to be more action-based, and this year, I want my word to reflect how I want to live as I start to enter the "Golden Years". Yes, this year I turn 60 and god only knows how I got here. I'm still single, and probably always will be, but I have a very close relationship with my daughters and three lovely grandchildren who fill my heart with all the warmth and caring I could ever need.

It's not been the easiest journey, but it could have been a whole lot worse. After my divorce 34 years ago, I was left with 2 babies to raise on my own, and had to go back to school to get a decent career in order to give them a good life. My parents, especially my mother, were my support and I was fortunate enough to be able to buy a house that backed onto their backyard, so that the girls had positive adult influences and supervision even through the challenging teen years. Mom passed when the girls were 18 and 15, and my father left his old life behind, but we had a strong base by then, and I am happy to say that my siblings and I have remained close and our kids and grandkids have a strong sense of family. What more could a girl ask for?

Now, my list of 20 (note: not all are crafty goals) in no particular order:
  • Spend more time with my family
  • Build and organize my new sewing/craft room in a way that makes me want to spend every day in it
  • Lose 25 lbs
  • Finish 20 sewing projects that have been languishing
  • Journal everyday 
  • Rebuild some friendships
  • Pay off 1/3 of my mortgage balance
  • Walk 1/2 hour at least 3 days a week 
  •  Practice photography
  • Complete at least 3 scrapbooking albums that have already been started
  • Keep current with my photos 
  • Finish my last course for work (no later than February 20th)
  • Declutter garage and create a proper storage area (and only store seasonal stuff)
  • Create a sanctuary of my new bedroom
  • Once moved downstairs, create a new housekeeping routine
  • Write in this blog at least 3 times a week.
  • Process all my scrap fabrics a la Bonnie Hunter's way
  • Watch less TV
  • Read more books
  • Live my best life!
Now these aren't SMART goals...yet. What are SMART goals? It is a technique I've used in my business life, and I have found success in all aspects of life, both in business and personal. It is time to revist that technique and expand my 20 in 2020 into:

Time-based goals

I'm going to spend the next week sorting, refining and making a road plan for the next phase of my life!

Now for some pretty inspiration:

Til next time, Terri

Friday, December 27, 2019

Planning a new craft room in 2020

 2020 is going to be a big year for me, crafting-wise! I am expanding my craft/sewing space from 144 sq ft to 400 sq ft. sometime during the year (some renos have to be done first) and I have big plans!

Currently my little sewing (bed)room is in a state with the aftermath of Christmas. I just put out all the cardboard and recycling that accumulated during the season, and can at least see some floor space.

Here it is in all its glory...

I can now get to the sewing machine...

but not the closet...

nor my ironing board! 

But that is not all. Sewing and quilting is my favourite craft, but I have dabbled in a lot of other things. I've been a scrapbooker for 20 years, and ran it as a business for many years. That has slowed down as my career as a mortgage broker took off, but I still meet with some of my friends regularly. Right now, I don't have a lot of space for that, so some corners of my living/dining room have been used for storing the various bags and supplies needed for that.

The cabinet under the counter is full of scrapbooking supplies. 

This cabinet is full of photos, and I try to hide my bags behind my chair.

And behind my sofa is all my stock for sale. 

How did it get like this? Well, I used to have the whole 2000 sq. ft., 4-bedroom house to myself after my kids moved out, and I originally planned to downsize. My oldest daughter and son-in-law originally suggested a swap of their townhouse, but it had a lot of stairs which I didn't want. Then we decided that sharing this house could work, and we split the upstairs and downstairs (it's a split level entry with a fully developed lower level). I kept the upstairs with the living room and full kitchen but that left me with only a bedroom for all my crafts and sewing, and not much room to store everything.

Now we are going to swap because my son-in-law does the majority of the cooking, and I don't entertain much except for when I get together with friends to sew or scrapbook, and I would like the space downstairs.

My inspiration:

I discovered, and her craft room is virtually the same size as the main room in my new space. Her colours appeal to me and I have many of the IKEA pieces already! 

To-do list:

Monday, November 4, 2019

November goals

Some sewing happened in the last two months, but it was mostly filled with studying and a cruise to Hawai'i (more about that in another post). Tomorrow is my exam and then I can get back to the sewing room. Maybe then I can restart my personal 30 days of blogging challenge (what a stupid time I picked last time).

Goals for November:

- Placemats for Nancy (my oldest friend)
- Row-by-row river landscape for Vicki (my sister)
- 5 mini Bionic Gear Bags for the grands

- a periodic table quilt with my grandson (his request) - he even offered me $10 to help pay for fabric (which I wouldn't take)
- Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt (day after American Thanksgiving)

- pyjamas for the grands

Leader and Enders:
- Moda's Christmas 1968 quilt using Riley Blake Bliss fabric
- Bonnie Hunter's On Ringo Lake

Whew, that's not all of it - but those are the priorities before I have to start studying my next course. Both are work-related, in the field of investments (Exempt Market Products and Compliance Officer), and once done, I have secured my position until retirement in the next 3-5 years or so. It feels good to know that I can make those plans - after my divorce, I had two babies to raise and no college education, so my prospects of retirement before 85 seemed bleak. Even if it isn't Freedom 55, to be able to say I can retire by age 63 feels pretty good (not that I plan to do it before 65, but to know I can feels very freeing.)

Let's hope I can post regularly - it motivates me to do more!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

30 days of blogging

Today I have challenged myself to post every day in September. I have been in the doldrums as it is the 20th anniversary of my mom's diagnosis of lung cancer at the very same age I am now.  I'm going to blog about anything that comes to my mind, whether it is sewing related or not.

But for now, what am I working on?

I have several projects on the go as usual:
  •  cord organizer
  •  packing cubes for my upcoming cruise to Hawaii
  •  fix my new backpack lining (made it a little too big)
  •  work on my Epic Halloween quilt
  •  continue step 1 of Christmas Posy using Bliss fabrics
  •  continue step 2 of On Ringo Lake
Tomorrow I'm taking my best friend out for a birthday breakfast.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Some finishes

I've been neglecting to update my blog, so I'm going to catch up with a few of my recent finishes. For Christmas, I made 3 I-Spy quilts: 1 each for my last grand-niece and grand-nephew, and 1 for a special little girl adopted by a very lovely couple - they had waiting for a long time to become a family!

Although they have a lot of the same blocks, each one is a little different. I try to take the kids personality into consideration, so for example, there is a ballet dancer in one because my grandniece is taking dance lessons. Each one has a block that has the first letter of their name - it was interesting keeping the girls' quilts straight because both their names start with E.

I keep forgetting to take pictures of the finished product, and I've already gifted these so the before-binding pictures will have to do!

This next quilt has an interesting story:

My good friend and co-worker gave me a bag of fabric that she was clearing out. Most of it wasn't suitable for quilting, so the larger pieces got donated, but in amongst the pieces I found 15 log-cabin blocks already completed, and the scrap fabric. I asked her about it, and it turned out some the fabric came from her deceased mother's stash. She didn't want the blocks back as she is not a quilter so I made one more block, assembled the quilt and surprised her for Christmas. I called the quilt "A Hug from Mom" and she was overwhelmed. It is a true scrappy quilt, and Cathy remembered some of the pieces as being from her dad's shirts, some curtains, even old sheets. The blocks were all different sizes but I was able to square them down to about 14" each, and the quilt finished at about 55". It is not 100% cotton and one fabric has a really loose weave, so I'm not sure how well it will wear, but it was probably the most well-received quilt I have had the honour to finish. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Down the Rabbit Hole (or how many projects can I work on in two days)

Welcome back, once again! I have been sewing, but neglecting to post - I must do better. Heads up, this is an extra-long post.

Thanks to an extra-long weekend, I was able to sew for two full days. I needed to finish the girls Easter dresses, so of course, I pulled out on old project to see where I was at! Talk about being a major procrastinator.

The project I pulled out was the 365 Challenge by Kathryn Kerr in Australia ( This is what it will look like when it is finished - I'm doing mine in black/grey, red, and white/cream.

She started this challenge in 2016, and I did start it then, but intended it to be a long term project. Here's where I'm at so far - 35 3.5" blocks, and the centre medallion.

Each year she offers the same blocks, but sometimes in a different order. I decided to finish the centre medallion, so I started making the chevron/flying geese blocks when I realized I had some other fabric that would work perfectly with this project. .So far I have made two of the side strips. The fabric from the other project is the words on the right-hand side of the flying geese.

This is when I fell down the rabbit hole - that other project kept nagging at me - all of the fabrics would work so well in this quilt, so I pulled it out.

It was a kit I bought on sale for $25 at my local quilt shop, Hamels Fabrics, about 5-6 years ago. It was a panel and the two fabrics that make up the border. I had also bought some coordinating fat quarters and eventually a great piece of lime green from a different manufacturer/designer also called Wordplay - perfect to brighten up the black/white design.

First, I cut the panel into the individual blocks, then choose specific words from the lime green and raw-edge appliqued them on the blocks.

(my personal favourite...)

Once that was done, I placed strips varying in size from 1.5" to 2.5", log cabin style to bring the blocks up to approximately 13.5". 

Once I had the blocks done, I used my design wall (bed), added a few strips where a couple of blocks were short, and webbed the quilt. By that night, I had the top completed! (still need to press it and take a picture). Now all those fabrics are free to be used in my 365 project!

In between, I also worked on some leaders and enders - Step 4 of On Ringo Lake by Bonnie Hunter:

and 1.5" nine-patches:

 By now, it was Saturday night, and I still had to sew the facings down on the girls' dresses. I put the buttons on and set up their goodies for the morning visit.

We had an Easter egg hunt at the neighbours, and then it was warm enough to even pull out the small pool!

So how many projects did I end up working on? Five in all! If I could only do this every weekend, I'd make progress on my many UFOS!