Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The No Good Very Bad Day That Led to My First Monthly Project

This has been one heck of a year!  In February we awoke in the middle of the night to a plumbing catastrophe with a waterfall from our second floor to our dining room, living room, and kitchen.  I have never felt more panicked or more helpless!  We shut off the water, got out shop vacs, moved furniture and belongings, and called the insurance company.  It got worse before it got better.

After a bit over two months of water mitigation, walls, ceilings, and flooring ripped out and replaced and renewed, moving all of our belongings out of our home, and lots of extra projects on my part, we got our home back.  It was crazy because I was still dealing with my knee problems after tearing my ACL, as well as pain in my shoulder, foot, and hand after falling off a ladder before all this happened.  Well, I never thought I would get back on a ladder, but the home repairs and redecorating encouraged me to get back on that horse!  The insurance company paid for some rooms to be repainted and flooring for almost all rooms to be replaced.  I painted many of the rooms that they didn't handle because I figured not having flooring was the easiest time to paint walls.  Drips and spills would not matter!  In the end, I picked new colors and I love it all, despite the horrible and upsetting way it all started.

Aside from the lovely new walls, ceilings, flooring, fresh paint, and new colors, everything naturally is cleaner since it was all ripped out!!  I packed stuff up and movers took it away for two days but I didn't want the clutter back so I took close to 30 minivan loads of stuff to Goodwill before packing.  I had our treadmill picked up by a charity.  I gave stuff to family and friends.  I seriously thought out every object in my home minus stuff in my husband's music room and office, and my daughter's room, which were spared from purging because they suffered no water damage.  I looked in every drawer and cabinet and on every shelf.  I went through my sewing and craft room for days, clearing out and really considering how I now wanted to organize and store things. I re-thought my workflow and storage.  I got rid of more stuff than I can describe!  And now I love it!!  Aside from being clean and fresh and new, everything in my home is organized and clutter-free.  I feel like it was an extra gift from the Home Repair Fairies.  I just figured if we were going through all that pain, we were going to have a better home all the way around as a result.  No more stuff piled on top of any thing-- not my China cabinet, not my counters, not my wardrobes or chests of drawers.  Nice clean lines, a place for everything, and an easy place to live is what we traded for all that extra stuff.

I also decided it was time to rethink my window treatments.  I took everything down, washed what very few treatments I was keeping, and re-hung those.  I made new kitchen window treatments and I have plans for new treatments for my living room and dining room.  My family room was untouched by all the drama, but those windows will also be getting a face lift.  I made new roman shades and a new valance for my kitchen using fabric from my stash.  That's when I decided that I would try to use my stash for all my home sewing projects. This is where I will admit that the only two things I regret getting rid of in all that were two pieces of fabric!!  (I got rid of so much fabric).

The water mitigation people took down all my framed photos and artwork.  I decided they would not be going back up. I decided that my family room is where all my family photos would be going.  No more tablescapes with photos in frames.  No more framed family photos scattered like an 80s living room museum.  Instead the family room walls would allow me to tell the story of our family!  The walls in the rest of the house I wanted for artwork that was all about us too; I wanted things we made.  For my living room, in a corner with my husband's guitars and instruments, I hung framed articles about him (like the front page of our local newpaper's business page that I had framed back when we were dating) and a poster of a big event he organized at Freedom Hall last year.  I wanted my own artwork and my daughter's.  I wanted things that people made specifically for us. I finally framed a St. Francis that my friend Sis Patterson made for me when I became Catholic.  It had been a favorite item for years, but I kept it safely in a drawer.  Now it is in a shadow box on a wall in my kitchen so I can enjoy it every day.

That thinking is what caused me to decide to do a project a month for my walls.  The month of May was a wall hanging I originally thought would go in my family room.  But in the end, I put it in my entry.  It is made using the Anita Goodesign Homestead files.  That is an embroidery file collection that was one of the very first ones I bought when I started embroidery but it always seemed too labor intensive, too stitch intensive.  Giving myself a month to do it, it was very doable!  I started by figuring out the finished size I wanted.  I am limited to a 5x7 hoop so the "D" size was the one I had to use.  I chose a palette of fabrics and a palette of thread colors --all from my stash, nothing purchased.

I made a color copy of the project in the book, then I cut up the paper, choosing which blocks I would use, re-taping it for the design I wanted.  That allowed me a plan to use.

I hooped No Show Poly Mesh stabilizer and cut up a bunch of 5" cotton batting squares to use in step two of each block.

I put every single block through my Embrilliance software.  I was able to get a clear list of color steps and I had space on my print out to make notes related to thread colors I wanted to use, when the color mattered, and when it was an applique step.  Watching the virtual stitchout meant that I knew what to expect on these little blocks, some with over 20 steps.  I started stitching all the animals, then the trees, then the quilts, and ended with the tiny detailed buildings.  Unlike the way I usually do applique, I did not use Heat N Bond Lite.  I did starch my fabrics though.  

I sewed them together to make the strips.  Then I stitched the sashing and border pieces and stitched them all together.

 I added a backing, quilted minimally in the ditch to attach it to the project.

I bound it using tips I learned from Mimi Dietrich's Finishing School class on Craftsy (now Bluprint).  I own that class and have referred back many times (I quilt very rarely so I forget often)!  I love her tips for perfect miters and her trick for meeting the ends of the double fold bias is genius.

I added a piece of wood to the back, hidden with fabric, and hung the quilt using drapery hardware that I had on hand.

I loved getting this first new wall project up!

Having a clean and organized sewing/craft room has made all my projects so much easier!  I have lots of projects to share that I have done since getting my room back that I will be sharing soon.  It has been a productive time in my little studio!

Thank you for checking out my post.  I have to figure out my June wall project.

To see my other embroidery projects, check out my embroidery gallery.  To see my paper projects, check out my paper gallery.

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