Saturday, January 31, 2015

I was feeling YUK so I splurged!

How can you resist what you see on the internet? I just HAD to have it!

As a professional browser!...haha! thought you'd like that! I find that it is soooooooo hard to pick fabric on the internet. With that said, I have been able to build my stash and come across some amazing finds!  What "looked" like blue on the internet (and before any computer guru's out there say it's all about focus, lighting, etc. etc.) I took the plunge and ordered. I thought I needed blue! Of course when it made it into my studio, I'm pretty set on blue, but what the heck! My favorite color is blue! I apologize for the unprofessional photo's, but I really wanted you to see what they look like IRL (in real life)...without all the fancy lighting...and setting the stage thing! You'll note that the bottom left is actually more brown/beige than anything! I love it! It will fit in nicely with the stash!

Of course I needed some bright Christmas fabric to put on the back of the Christmas tree skirt! The very same skirt that was just a flimsy under the tree this past Christmas! I love the bright and happy colors. Great if I want to reverse the skirt and was a good buy to boot! This UFO will be coming to retreat with me in March!

The other thing I was searching for was a decent screwdriver. I'm always looking for the little one that came with the toolkit with my Symphony -- the coin-like screwdriver that I can never find! This little one is so handy to change out the plates and needles and the like. I bought two so  I can put one in my retreat kit and the other to keep at home.

Last, but not least -- the Thank You car that Connecting Threads enclosed. For all you Canadian's out there -- I know we are all crying about the Canadian dollar -- but with the exchange rate and shipping, it still added up to a terrific deal. Check them out online. They are really great! My order came in about two weeks to Alberta. Not so bad if you ask me! I already have another order in!

Now on the other hand, I ordered one of Bonnie Hunter's books. Just one. With the exchange rate AND shipping that book was $54.58 Canadian. I haven't told Chef yet! Sorry, but THAT book is NOT going to be loaned out! I am hoping that it's one of those that will give me hours of pleasure. Note to self...... order books from Amazon or from the local quilt shops. -----UPDATE----Received the book and it's signed!!!!! PRICELESS!  Worth every penny!

Speaking of the local quilt shops -- I love to support my local dealers. With that said, I am a hard working woman, who has a budget right to the end dollar. I watch my pennies and can tell you exactly what my utility bills and anything else have cost for the last decade. You ask me any month, I can tell you what I paid!

When it comes to "my" passion -- my sewing/quilting, I have to be very cognizant of what I spend. I know that there will be loads of people that blast me for shopping outside of my own community -- however, maybe those people have a two-income family, less fixed bills, mortgages paid off, or whatever else. Trust me -- I would LOVE to buy all my fabric here in Calgary at the local quilt shops! I'm all for supporting your local people -- BUT -- when you can buy fabric, good quilting fabric, at a quarter of the cost for the "identical" fabric, and get 4 times as much elsewhere than here -- why would I buy local?

I do buy fabrics at horrendous prices -- when I do not have any other choice. I buy the $25 + meter (4 inches bigger than a yard) fabrics when I have to. There have been times when I have run out of fabric and I just NEED it. I have finished older WOP quilt tops (UFO's) to get as close to a match for fabric that has been gone for many years! If my budget could afford buying more locally -- I certainly would. Getting to an age where I seriously have to think about the cutting back on my purchases as retirement looms - I know that my stash will last me for many years. There will come a time where I will have to ask for those more expensive tools -- or save up for them (like I do now!) An example of this is my  new Rotating Cutting Board from Olfa. 17" by 17", the price for this here at the local quilt shop was $119.99 Canadian, plus 5% GST. Today, this very same rotating cutting mat on Nancy's Notions is $69.00 (which calculates at 87.83 Canadian funds). Now add shipping to that number and it probably works out to about the same as if I bought it here.

A BIG "Thank you" to my Youngest and her boyfriend for the gift certificate at my local shop for Christmas and my birthday! I've been wanting one of these for a very long time! I am truly blessed!


Maybe one day I will win the lotto and not care about exchange rates, shipping and duty! Until that happens, I will be watching my pennies and exchange rate as I continue to build my stash for the rainy days and retirement years. There will always be newer and better...but there will also be other priorities when we are retired -- like healthcare and living on a pension!

Check out Connecting Threads and do some browsing! I love that they send me a regular catalog so that I can dream and plan out new quilts!

So, question for today -- what are your shopping hints for your quilting endeavors?

Happy Quilting Everyone!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Arthritis...and something else

A chip floating around in there, from who knows what! I have CMC and STT arthritis. So it's painful when the base of the thumb moves.  

So what does it mean when you love quilting? Well my job every day is in front of a computer. Repetitive movements where there is bone on bone = OUCH! Immobilizing it while it is inflamed, apparently helps. I've been in inflammation mode for so long, I don't know what it's like not to have inflammation! So, they set me up with a hard splint. Today is day one with it and so far so good!

When I was explaining what I like to do in my spare time, I learned a whole lot! Apparently one pound of pressure (which really isn't a lot), exerts 10 pounds of pressure on the joint in your thumb. That relates to the pinch grip -- aka when you have to hold things between your finger and thumb.  It has been a very, very long time that I have been able to pinch without pain. Having the lower base of my thumb immobilized, seems to help - but honestly I haven't put it to the test. The occupational therapist said to keep the splint on doing the tasks that make me "uncomfortable". I laughed and said to her, "So you basically mean I have to wear it all the time!" and smiled! 

I am going for more injections in day surgery and then we will see if I am a candidate for surgery. They are hoping to buy me more time before having to head to a more invasive surgery!

Well, this is a new day! I feel bad for all of you with arthritis out there! The Accuquilt has helped with cutting out, and I've basically avoided much of the cutting I do with a ruler and rotary cutter because of hand placement on the ruler. It's all a journey in learning how to  change things to reduce pain.  

Typing is ok. Slow, but then again not using any part of my thumb (i.e. spacebar) is a change. It's been a couple of years having an ergonomic keyboard at work...which I love! 

I would love to hear from anyone regarding modifications to help you with quilting. What do you do differently than you did years ago?

Meantime...Happy Quilting everyone!


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Back to sewing!

The Symphony is home and working great! YEAH! It is working like a charm and I feel like things are back to normal! It is a "new" machine to replace the old one. Can you believe that in the U.S. they want $4K for this thing? EGADS! I am thankful that insurance took care of it and all it cost me was my deductible. Thank heavens for "all perils". It's worth it. Not that anyone or anything other than my OWN hands will be touching this machine anytime!

After sleeping most of the day yesterday, I got up this morning and made myself a coffee and off I went to the studio! Once the newest project gets to the recipient, I will ask for a photo to show off the cutie patootie I am making this for! Of course I will show you views of the finished product as well!

Here I am below in all my glory!  Hair tossed up and threw on clothes. All is "A-OK". I did find it hard to sew though, especially with gripping anything with my left hand. Chain piecing isn't so bad, but anything that requires me to pinch my thumb and other fingers together on my left hand is painful! I head to the orthopedic hand surgeon next week to see what can be done. If anything, I will be laid up for a few months if they are doing surgery! Work is difficult as I type all day. I have an ergonomic keyboard and I wear a split when it gets too bad. I guess they say it's normal when you do typing all the time. I'm thinking what the next generation will be like with all their "texting" with their thumbs!

I do have a retreat booked in March. Come hell or high water -- I'll be there! Even if it's just to offer my support with pouring coffee or something!

The whole time in my sewing room, Tigger was by the window supervising - that is, when his eyes were opened and his forehead wasn't buried in his kitty mat on top of the storage units! Normally, when I am watching TV with Chef in the living room, this is how he sleeps! Can't complain because he's so nice and warm around my neck!

So, I got the back to my mystery quilt done. It will be off to my friend Karen tomorrow to longarm it. I also finished the above project, but I will be quilting that myself! I was thinking that I should do some scrap maintenance here. I have a huge basket of scraps that I need to sort and cut.  I hate to throw any of those pieces out and want to get a handle on them. It's been far too long and things are starting to fall out of the basket now! That will have to keep for another day! Thank goodness I have the accuquilt! I may have to get some more dies if my left hand is in a sling and I'll have to employ Chef to help me with the scraps! It's bad enough that I'll have to have him help me with my hair if surgery is a go! He's amazing though! He's a lovely man who I adore! I know the quilty thing is not "his" thing, but he would willingly help! The first thing he said when he heard my machine fell in the hotel parkade was, "Oh NO! Are YOU ok? Did it fall on you?" Never a cross word. God love him!

Happy Quilting Everyone! I'm off to browse the blogs! I am so hooked on Bonnie Hunter that I could be called a "stalker" ...except I live far away and stalk her blog! haha! I ordered one of her books that I am so anxious to get! It should be here pretty soon!


Monday, January 12, 2015

My new Babylock Symphony has arrived! read that right! I have my new replacement BabyLock Symphony! YEAH!

My service person, Sean, should be the one that gets the commission with the work he put into the estimate to repair my machine! Apparently he is not eligible for commission. So -- my humble thanks to Sean who went over and above in estimating the damages to my poor machine below:

They stopped estimating once it was beyond the purchase price. *sigh* I was just sick over it. Chef, was so incredibly supportive. I was in tears when I came home. Thank goodness it was "replaceable"  and I was thankful  we were able to take care of it now instead of when I was retired. This will be a machine that I will use well into retirement! It will NOT be travelling without a proper case.

Word to the wise... ('cause I wasn't so wise) If you spend huge amounts of money on a machine, spend the extra couple of hundred to buy a very good sewing machine case to protect your investment. Either that, or take a cheaper machine to your classes! 

Some of you may remember that my Symphony took a dive off the luggage cart in the hotel parkade on my last retreat. Something I did not expect and of course I placed the machine on the cart with care. What I did not expect was the cart hitting a pothole in the parkade, pitching my machine down to the concrete! Down she went, hitting the side of the wheel onto the concrete -shattering the touch memory board. We couldn't even turn it on to see if the insides were working (Sean was pretty sure it was toast!) It wasn't a far fall,..but it was a fall nevertheless. I instantly wanted to vomit! This is my "baby" after all!  I can regret all I want, but I certainly can't turn the hands of time back! If I could, I'd have less wrinkles and no grey hair! ha ha...oh yes and my twenty-something body!

Meantime..if any of you have any suggestions on the best care for this type of machine -- let me know! I certainly will be investing in one!

Happy quilting all! Before you know it I'll be posting a finish soon!