Saturday, April 29, 2017

Complete!

Having workmen day after day is tiring. You need to be up and dressed and ready to go yourself....
So, I am happy to report I am still in my PJs today...at almost 8! Yup, no workmen! They finished!
We have a brand new driveway and front path!
They tamped the whole thing, then tamped it with sand after brushing it fully into the pavers. Dust got everywhere! So, I will be dusting today....and vacuuming...
Shall we see?? Let's take a look at the before....

And before I get to the "TA DA!"...here is the final stage.....



Wow...it was noisy...actually all week...but that tamper machine vibrates through the house....
Hubby said they used for 2-3 hours when tamping the road bed stuff....
So, ready for the great reveal??


Ta Da!!!
You can see we widened the driveway by 2 feet to the left side of the picture...
What do you all think??
The response so far from neighbors and friends has been an overwhelming kudos....
Course, we haven't even driven on it yet....
They told us because it is a driveway to wait a couple of day to let the polmeric sand set up and the cement that is on the edges....so...I am being patient.
But it is very nice I think....
I'd love to hear from you....
Nancy


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Driveway Continues

So, this is day three.
Yesterday, they started the digging for a new drain that will be cored to the street...no more flooding between us and the neighbor!

There are a lot of roots from the carrotwood tree and the hedge....but that is where it needed to go.
And I knew that some boxwood would be disturbed, and some valerian as well. They were told not to touch the apricot pot. Then, I left Hubby in charge as I went out with a friend.
They did move the pot.
I was distraught about that...it was a 7 year old tree that I miniaturized by having it live in a pot. It was lovely. They moved the pot, severing the taproot....it immediately started dying.
So far I have several plants to replace...and I had figured that may be the case. But I have told both foremen that they owe me for that tree....It was a specially ordered Blenheim apricot...
In any case, aside from that....the driveway is HUGE!
I kinda woke up stressing that maybe I shouldn't have given up two feet of grass....and widened the path too....
Oh well, it will make it easier to take out the garbage cans....
But they laid about 3/4 of the driveway yesterday before they left....


Pretty sweet....they are lovely and its amazing how fast these guys lay pavers! They can stack about 20 heavy pavers in a wheelbarrow at time!
The other things I stressed about at about 3 in the morning was, since the driveway and "porch" area are really all one and the same, how do I make it warmer and more welcoming??
I'd love input from my readers!! Just make comments so we can all hear since I may not be the only one with this problem.
For those that want to know.
The pavers are by Belgard a company known as the "cadillac" in the industry and they don't just have any company put them in.
Go Pavers is excellent in what they do (with the exception that don't understand garden pots).
They are predominately a LA company, but do lots of work all over Southern California.
Their work is guaranteed for three years....
Why pavers?
We have adobe soil....so if something moves or shifts it can be fixed.
We have both sewer and water that run under the driveway as well, so if there is a problem (and always could be with a house that is almost as old as me!!)...it can be fixed fairly easily, just pull out pavers and fix the problem then replace. Go Pavers said they can always coordinate with such a problem so that pavers are replaced correctly.
We chose these pavers out of the multitude that can be a driveway (not all pavers are durable enough).
These are not the same pavers (sadly) that we have on the patio due to that very problem...the ones on the patio are just patio pavers.....
We like the texture of these and color....
These are called Catalina Slate. Slate refers to the texture and the color is Victorian. Just in case you might like to know.
I will show you the final results.
Today they finish laying the driveway and start the path.
Then they use the tamp it down with a machine and then spread special sand that seals it up.
Want to know the best part of pavers??
Unlike having cement where you have to wait for it to cure up to 14 days....
You can drive on it right away!
Isn't that awesome??
Once they give the all clear its done.....and leave, cars can go on it....
Pretty sweet......
Are we happy with Go Pavers? Yes.
Are they reasonable? Oh yes! It is still not cheap but it was only $1,500 more than cement. Truly.
This company's quotes came in several thousand dollars less than System Pavers.
I am sure there are other companies that are just as good, we liked working with them. Good guys and their website shows the prices right there. How much each paver is per square foot. The other companies see your "fancy" car and the price goes up.
Just thought I'd fill you in.
I will show you the final final.......
Nancy

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Design Under Way

It is destructive. It's intense. It's messing with the way things are....
But...it's design...under way.....
The driveway and path reno began at 7:30 yesterday....I took off and went to my daughter's the whole day. Glad I did.
Hubby said the noise was bad...the tractor, the sledge hammer, the jack hammer.....
But he also said it was quickly removed...then the tractor got busy putting in roadbed....
So, that is where we stand today. And we have to go out the back door and around the side and slip through the hedge to get to the car....
Today, they will tamp and tamp and add the sand base....and perhaps start putting in some of the pavers.
They also are installing a drain, well, actually three drains down the other side so that rain water will no longer collect like a lake....always a good thing....
The design was a concept developed by us over the 26+ years that we have been here, and then modified or enlarged by the coordinator on the project. It has roughly 8 pallets of pavers out front....Not to mention the oh so glamorous outhouse.






So, the driveway itself has been added to by 2 feet (into the lawn) on one side only. This makes it better for cars to park and to back out of the garage...
Honestly, if I ever buy another house....I would not buy one with this kind of driveway! Our Master is on the driveway and therefore the street....it gets noisy or smelly with a car backing out...
It is going to be a great number of pavers....
Most definitely will need to do some gardening after all is said and done......
Well....I will keep you posted....
Nancy

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Driveway

Once upon a time there was a young couple who bought a house...even though his parents thought we were crazy...the house was fine except it needed lots of "updating" and paint and more paint...and that driveway!
The driveway over time has taken a beating through teenage years and cars and basketballs...
Today, that is going to change.
With herbal calmatives and a gulp, I will go spend the day with my daughter and grandson as it is all coming out. Even the path around the side is getting a "do over".....
Hubby is manning the fort.
It will be reduced to rubble with tractors and bulldozers....
How will it look....?
At this moment I have that "buyers remorse" with "what have we done" "it doesn't look that bad..."
Or does it??



You see in 1959 when this house was built, it had an asphalt driveway.
Somewhere in time the owners poured a concrete driveway. If this driveway is anything like the back patio was....there is no reinforcement. Between the lack of support underneath and the adobe soil in this area....it really does look pretty bad.
So, that is where we are today...26 almost 27 years later after we bought the house and have been working our way to updating it.
Of course, by the time the next people get this house, it will be outdated again....
Oh well....for us, it's home. It's the place where the "crazy" lady lives and grows tomatoes in boxes out front, and peach trees in pots out front and lots and lots of flowers.
It certainly will not look like this when I get home today (planning for about 5 or so)....
Nancy

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Spring has come

Around here in Southern California, spring has arrived.
The birds are chirping and flowers are blooming. The hills are just gorgeous this year with all the rain. They won't be much longer as the warmer weather sets in. There are places that will be in the 90s this weekend....turning the lush green of the hills to a dull brown...sad..
This week, Hubby needed to see the PT and since that is in San Clemente he decided we needed to have lunch out on the pier as reward. Count me in!!
It was a bit breezy, and surf was quite rough...only the advanced surfers were out...
After, we came home and did a touch of gardening, which included harvesting the onions!
It was time...the straight upright stalks had fallen and the bulbs had pushed up through...
We had a great harvest....some were small, some were quite big!
These were planted in October as onion sets....they throughly enjoyed our great rains and the sweetness of these Visalia onions is so wonderful. Now because they are sweet onions, they won't keep as long and I don't have that much space...I have been sharing with neighbors...(yup that many onions).
I will also dehydrate some and freeze some as well...but for now, the basket sits on the counter. I should be braiding the leaves and hanging them to dry....but I am just enjoying the "fruits of our labor"....
I also have been working on the quilt for our friends...

I am pretty pleased with it...even though I lost some points (mainly from squaring up the squares)....
This week is the beginning of a rough week for us.
We are getting a new driveway next week, and since the driveway is our main way in and out....we will have to go out the back and around the side yard to get in and out....
Today, a new dishwasher is getting installed (its been two weeks without one....).
I have been stressing about the driveway...It is something we wanted for about 27 years now, but due to the difficulty...have put it off....and well, with the wet winter, the cement is worse for the wear...
I will post about that later....
For today, I am babysitting....
Have a great day!!
Nancy

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Happy Easter!

I want to wish you a Happy Easter!
It's been busy here with all kinds of things going on! (Who knew retirement could be so busy?)
We are planning an Easter Egg hunt for our Grandson Tomorrow and then brunch and then a treasure hunt for the daughters.....
We are giving them each an electric pressure cooker for Easter (I couldn't wait until Christmas) and making it into a treasure hunt...so with brunch to do etc...I will be busy today! Especially since our dishwasher is still out of stock and isn't expected until the 20th!
So tomorrow is a paper plate day.....
Other than preparing for Easter (notice I am not cleaning right now?? Yeah, I am talking to you my readers....), I have been quilting up a storm...well, piecing anyway...
I have it in mind to make this quilt for our dear friends who are also celebrating their 40th anniversary.
Their anniversary is in July...July 4th!! So, fabric choice was super easy.....
I actually had planned on making them a quilt for a while....(years)...but just didn't do it. So I pulled out my stock and added to it....
I decided on a twin size ....roughly...it will be 70+ x 80+....so a little under twin....(Squares are 12" square and are 5 across, 6 down)
It is for their family room or wherever  they want it....
I embroidered in 4 of the squares and here is what I have....
Thirty squares of a simple star....

 Which then have sashing that also includes a star......
This sashing is something I pulled out of a picture...I never have done it before...let me tell you...those little points are 1/2" big...and though I figured out a trick (thanks to Jenny at MSQC) but nonetheless....tricky....
I have two rows stitched but have 4 more to go....
Those embroidered squares...have a fancy heart....another with "Love" and these two....



So, hopefully she isn't reading this....but if she is...well..."the cats out of the bag"....but even so...it is a long way to done....
It should be pretty awesome when it's finished...well, hopefully...
Today, I have to boil some eggs and get ready for the big day tomorrow....
So, this guy.....
...can find Easter eggs.....(See his apron?? We had just finished dying eggs and he was enjoying a movie....)
Happy Easter....
Nancy

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Getting Organized

So, today was one of those days I got lots done. Amazing what getting up early and having a good breakfast can do for you.
One of the things I did today was work more on the "Craft Room"...really the quilting room, or maybe I should call it a studio.
Regardless, it was still in disarray.
I finished up a small project I had started which felt good to do...
Then, got ready to set up three other projects.
One is for a friend...she wanted a pillow to go with the quilt I made her. I had to order the fabric which came amazingly fast...then I realized I had no zippers that would work.
Then, I started planning a quilt for us. Yup, one for us!
I am planning a quilt that we will have for our 40th anniversary! Our Anniversary is in June on the 18th, and since that falls on Father's Day this year, we are planning a party on the day before.
I am kinda playing with the idea of having our dear friends sign fabric and turn that into a quilt...but maybe not....
In any case, I started putting together a "task basket" with fabric in it I might want to use.
In another basket, I put fabric together for some dear friends...their 40th is this year also, on the Fourth of July! So, I think I want to make them a lap quilt....Well, that's the plan anyway....
Then, since I had to dig through the fabric to find the 4th of July fabric, I organized the rest of my fabric "library".....
This is just acid free cardboard, known as Magazine board, but wrapping a half, whole or more yard of fabric around it and securing it with a stainless pin...well, it seems perfect. I can see the fabric and get to it. At certain areas, I have bookends that help hold it up, so the whole lot doesn't fall down when some are removed....
No, it isn't perfect, but  it is a whole lot better than a stack that you mess up because you had to get the one from the bottom....
And, I got ruthless too, I actually donated a bunch of fabric I knew I wouldn't use....which helped organize quite a bit. Every now and then, one needs to "weed" the collection, whether it is books, records, or fabric....
I did that recently in the kitchen too....but that is a discussion for another time.
After I did this, I also hatched a plan for hanging those quilt tops that wait for a home, the ones I set aside for monograms etc....
I had been using a clothespin and skirt hanger method, but that was not really working anymore. So, I came up with this.....
These are two Pottery Barn brackets that I picked up at a thrift store. Not really sure whether they are shelf brackets or what....but, when I saw them I knew this would work. I mounted them to the window and put a rod through the hole...(there are actually three holes, so technically, I could have three rods!).
So, that is where my day ended...besides making dinner and having a glass of wine.
More got done, but that is my highlight...
Hope your day was a productive and good one.
Here's to sweet dreams....
Nancy

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wall Hanging for a Customer

I had a request from a customer to make a wall hanging for his Mother...who has bees and makes all kinds of wonderful items from beeswax, not to mention the honey....
He wanted something 24" square and he liked the fabric that was on a lap quilt I had...which he also bought.
 Here is a close up of the corners with the feathers I did...
 This is the embroidery I did with the name of her bee business...
My new machine does a really good job scanning and centering the embroidery...

 Each corner of the wall hanging has a star with a bee hive in the center....
 I had a great deal of fun quilting this....
Here is my sweet supportive Hubby, holding up the wall hanging.
I thought I'd show you before he gets it tomorrow....
I will tell you what else I did today....
Nancy

Sunday, March 26, 2017

What A Couple of Weeks!!

I have not been idle. I've been busier than usual and out of my comfort zone....for the better.
For two weeks I have taken a class in the evening....(yeah, I know, right?? I usually relax and watch TV while having dinner and do .....nothing....)
The first class was how to make Kombucha!
Kombucha is a drink I have been spending money on ....every day!
However, I believe that it was one of the reasons I have stayed healthy, especially around a two-year old......
Last year, I was so sick and had two horrific chest colds....that got into my chest...(and you know how that goes)...so I vowed I would do something to stay healthy this year.
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink. It is so good for you! It is loaded with polyphenols and enzymes, and probiotics. One bottle a day I have been drinking. I feel peppier...and healthier.
So, since I have been spending lots of $$$ on Kombucha (they run $1.94-3.99 each), Hubby said "you should learn how to make it!"....so, I did!
There are a few tricks, but nothing hard....the hard part is waiting! It takes about 15 days to become Kombucha...and 5 more if you want flavors....
So, here are my two batches, waiting...and growing...
So, far, so good....
If want to know more...just ask....
Then, I took a class at the sewing shop so I could use my machine
So, for a week I have been "studying" how to use certain features.....
 The first feature is using the new monogramming and scanning parts of the machine....this machine will actually scan the area in the hoop and find perfect center and the thickness of the fabric....wow.
Here I learned out to design a piece...this is my newest design...I hope I remember how to use it.....
I also learned how to use the embroidery unit to Quilt! So, much more to learn...it is amazing...
Anyway, that's not all!
This week, I learned how to make kraut!
Yes, went back for another class, this one was very exciting...we made garlic kraut, beet kraut, and turnip pickles....
Who would've thought? I had no idea...I've been canning for 38 years...and didn't really know the difference between canning pickles (which I will still do) and fermenting pickles.
Fermented pickles, like Kombucha, are loaded with probiotics and good things for you. When you can them...it kills much of the good stuff for your "gut". Anyone heard about "leaky gut"?
Yeah, what fun!
 This is the pounder, a beautiful piece of wood, and much needed tool.
This jar, equals about 3/4 of a gallon. It holds, five pounds of cabbage. Yes, it does. I didn't believe it, but we help make it happen....an amazing task that the pounder makes happen....
The result is a fresh and yummy kraut....not like any other I have had.....
We also did the beet kraut that has red cabbage, red onion, carrots and beets in it. All 5 pounds.
Have any of you made kraut??
And.....on top of it all.....
I am learning piano!
We have a piano in our house...and no one plays....except our daughter....and it just sits there....until now.
It is slow, I am learning on my own, with my daughter "checking" my progress..
So, that is some of what I have been doing for two weeks.
In between, I finished off two quilts and started a wall hanging for a customer. Yup, I have sold a lap quilt and a wall hanging.....
It appears my sewing machine will be very busy.....
Happy Sunday!!
Nancy

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My Newest Iron

This is not a paid commercial...I just want to share with you my findings.

You all know I am a quilter.


And something every quilter needs...is an iron! You press every seam as you make it...and press every fabric....
So, a good reliable iron is what a quilter needs.
I had a Black & Decker iron that worked pretty well for two years....then it got too hot, then not hot enough...and just bellied up....
So, I went to Target and bought another just like it, for $15.
It was ok, except one problem, it didn't get quite hot enough, even on the highest setting and then even though it didn't say so on the box, it has a shut-off.
Every quilter I know hates that shut-off.
We sit and sew and turn and press....
So, a shut-off is frustrating...
I searched the stores, and the internet for an iron that would at least have a long shut-off...(30 mins).
I went to Amazon and read almost every review of every iron. I was willing to spend big money....
I thought I wanted the Oliso iron, and they cost about $150+
But, may I suggest you read those reviews, even if you do not buy from Amazon...those reviews are invaluable.
Oliso irons got horrid reviews!
While cruising through Amazon, I came across a recommendation from a seamstress. Seems they need a good quality iron just as I do. She recommended This iron....
It doesn't have a shut-off!!
But, it has everything else I needed!
It's the best yet!
I do not expect any iron to last more than two years...but I expect good steam when I want or need it.
I expect good heat.
I expect just enough weight without breaking a wrist....(rowenta is one that is very heavy)....
I expect to be able to iron on demand....
This iron, like all the others is also made in China (really they all are)....but, it is different!
It has an easy to fill water compartment....and will not leak from there (how many times have you been burned by hot water coming from that compartment??)
 It has both spray and a steam burst, which I absolutely love! Gets those seams that are too stubborn to lie down!
It has a non-stick sole pad and see the shape?? Yeah, the expensive one have that and it's critical for little spaces...if you do sewing of any sort you know what I mean....
I have had it now for about two months. It is easy to fill and has a huge tank for water and comes with a little pitcher for it!
It gets hot pretty darn quick...unlike the Black & Decker one I bought two months before.
It isn't too heavy.
No, it doesn't sit like the Oliso, which sits horizontally and irons when you set your hand on it (but that is a whole other story....read the reviews!)
So, how much did I pay for this marvel???
$18 (Amazon prime)....
Yeah.....just that. Yes, I am a Prime member...totally pays for itself....(that too is another story).
So, while the sewing machine costs thousands (they all do at that level)....
You don't have to pay hundreds for a great iron!
I pretty much love this iron...
It has a long cord....and sits at the ready when I am ready....
It is self-cleaning and easy to use....good thing...I use it a great deal.....
And it was only $18....Honestly, it were to go up...I'd pay for it....
Okay...that's my sales pitch....
I am not getting reimbursed...or anything....(I could use the $$ for fabric LOL)
Just wanted to share my honest opinion on a iron....
Nancy