Random Thoughts

As we watch the events unfold along the eastern seaboard, I cannot help but remember the last hurricane we sustained in Houston. Hurricane Ike cut a path of destruction in September 2008, and took 112 lives in the US (almost 200 total). While no loss of life is acceptable, the estimated 16 lives lost to Sandy seems minimal comparatively speaking. When you look at the 16 deaths in Sandy compared to the nearly 2000 lives lost in Katrina, it is not so difficult to see why some media outlets consider Sandy a non-starter. Obviously, to the people who have been in the path, and who have witnessed the destruction first hand, and perhaps know one or more of the people who lost their lives, that is insulting. But when you look at Sandy in relation to other hurricanes that have hit the US, this was a fairly mild storm – it could have been much worse, and was predicted to be much worse. Fortunately, the east coast didn’t take the hit originally forecast. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who was in the path of the storm.

I have been so busy lately, it’s hard to remember which way is up! But things are starting to calm down a little – the calm before the holiday storm, I think. I’ve already begun planning my Thanksgiving menu, and I have a can of paint just waiting to be used in the kitchen. We also need to paint the den, but that will be the weekend of the 10th of November. I have a table runner to start AND FINISH before the end of the month, and multiple quilts to back, quilt and bind before the start of December (I hope to get them done, anyway). Cooking, cleaning and decorating … that’s my life for the next month. Oh, and work, and family.

Speaking of quilts, I just finished a Christmas quilt top – yes it’s one of the ones I want to get completed by the start of next month. Here’s a shot of the completed top.

 

Hard to believe now, but I really thought the quilt was going to be too small to be used as a quilt, and that I might have to use it as a table cover. However, it turned out to be a perfect “lap quilt” size, so I can hardly wait to get it finished! I am thinking something very simple, like a cross hatch or in the ditch quilting will be fine.

The Houston International Quilt Festival starts tomorrow at the George R. Brown Convention Center. I haven’t been to the quilt festival in about four years, so I have plans to be there this Saturday to check out all the beautiful quilts and the new innovations in the sewing world. I’m also very interested in looking at sewing machines & long arm quilting machines. The quilts provide a year’s worth (or more!) of inspiration. I’ll try to get some photos this year to share with everyone.

Until next time!

 

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I can’t believe it’s already October

This year has gone by so fast, and practically without me even noticing the changing seasons! But it occurred to me recently that we are coming up on the holiday season, and I feel like I have so much to do to get ready for it. Add to that the general feeling of things that need to be done around the house, and I am practically overwhelmed by the ever-growing to-do list I would like to accomplish.

One of the areas where I fail the most is in home organization. I think this is because that even for “inexpensive” organization products, it can be quite costly to purchase the things needed to get an entire home organized. And I am a true perfectionist – either I want it ALL to be done the right way or NONE of it gets done. I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to kick that bad habit, but I’m getting there. For example, last week I bought a couple of plastic bins from Target that can be used as cubes for towels in the master bath. That took care of the organizational issue I had there – no place to put towels. But the problem in the master bathroom – a lack of storage – highlights another obstacle for me … we currently rent a house, so I would rather not put a lot of money into making improvements for storage issues that are permanent. I don’t mind putting SOME money into making things work, because we plan to be here for several years to come. We’re thinking at least four more here, but since it is a two story house and we’d prefer a one story, we may move sooner than expected. In fact, the only reason we rented THIS house is because it is in the same neighborhood where we lived previously and we didn’t want to move my son out of the high school he’s in since it’s his last year.

But that leaves the problem of storage in a couple of areas. Our master closet is huge – about 20′ long by about 8′ or so wide – think a bowling alley, as my husband calls it. Along the left wall, there is a long rod/shelf, and on the right wall, there is a small inset area for clothing (where my husband hangs his clothes) and then just a ton of wall space. It’s a great closet to hang things up in but other than that, anything you may want to store in there is on the floor, or other storage has to be bought. Not only are our clothes in there, but all my craft and quilting supplies are there too. Right now, things are in boxes (cardboard and plastic) or in a couple of the elfa wire drawer set ups from the Container Store. They work really well – I keep all my undergarments, socks, pj’s, shorts, etc., in them, as well as jewelry, and I love having everything right there in one place. But there is so much about the closet that doesn’t work, I can’t even begin to describe it. Part of the problem is that I need to purge and get rid of a lot of stuff, and part of the problem is just not having a place to store it all. I just really need to work out an inexpensive solution – maybe something like this Rubbermaid closet organization system? It’s inexpensive, so if I get a few years out of it, I won’t mind leaving it. I wouldn’t dare put one of the Container Store systems in here, because I wouldn’t want to spend that much money. I have thought about their freestanding organization systems, but that is also a lot of money even when you can take it when you leave.

Another thing I really want to get done – sooner is better than later – is to paint the downstairs. When we took possession of the house, the landlords had painted – with white primer. And they didn’t do a very good job even of that … there are spots all around the baseboards where they didn’t get the old paint covered (which was apparently brown). At first, I thought we would paint some nice colors down there, but after thinking about it, I think a medium beige is about as dark as I’m willing to go, so we aren’t painting as we leave to cover what we may do now. We have two large rooms to get done – the gameroom (which is actually a formal living & dining room) and the den/dining area. Speaking of dining areas, I would also like to get my table painted as well, if I have time. If not, I’ll buy a tablecloth for it and call it done for now.

And finally, on the list of major things I need to get done before the holidays, is to do something with the downstairs half bath. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but it smells bad all the time. I know the owners lived here and had animals, so perhaps a litter box was in there? I’m not sure but I’ve tried every method of cleaning I can think of with no results – it always smells like stale urine. A friend of mine suggested that maybe we repaint the walls and put down some self-sticking cheap tiles, so that might be what we do … Hopefully that would seal the urine and block the smell?? Ugh!

And with this post, I think I’m off to Lowe’s and Home Depot to see what I can find … happy Sunday!