29 Jul

The Studio

House: Guest/Sewing Room

It sounds so official when I call it a Studio. I usually call it the sewing or craft room, and it’s also our guest room. I think this is the best studio/guest room we’ve ever had — at least size-wise. It has it’s own little bathroom, and more square footage than previous rooms.

House: Guest/Sewing Room

The studio is just off our living room, so I won’t feel like I’m being antisocial or out of the loop when I’m in there (this could end up being good or bad). Did I mention that it has a humongous closet?

House: Guest/Sewing Room

It actually makes my stash look small. No worries though, I have plenty of other art supplies to put in there too, plus our holiday decorations which I think store better indoors than in a garage (they are out of sight behind the door).

House: Guest/Sewing Room

Between the closet and the bathroom is just enough space for my treadle sewing machine which one day I may figure out how to use (it’s the bullet shaped bobbin that’s intimidating me). The machine table makes decent storage though. The pedestal table that I love but which has never found an appropriate space in our kitchen or dining rooms is my cutting table for now. The ironing board works where it is, but that’s also the space where I figure I’ll lean my design board. Nothing terribly permanent though — I don’t want to block the AC vent!

House: Guest/Sewing Room

As you move around the room to the right, there’s a large glass door to a patio outside, so the room gets a nice amount of light. The kids took possession of the larger bookcase I usually use, so my reference magazines live on the floor, but all the odd bits for beads and threads and embroidery floss are now somewhat hidden behind the pretty glass doors on our barrister bookcase. The sewing table is a little squished between the bookcase and the bed, but I’m hoping that will work to my advantage and that quilts will just pile up in the far corner of the table instead of falling off the end and messing with my machine quilting stitches.

House: Sewing Room

My mushroom collection lives!


Then there’s the bed. We ditched the futon in Hawai’i. It was a good space saver, but this queen sized bed is so much more comfortable for our guests, who are most often our parents.

House: Guest Room

I look forward to other guests too. Quilty girlfriends, you know who you are, and you are welcome any time! The bed is big enough to bring a spouse, and the kids’ rooms can accommodate friends as well.

26 Jul

Long Beach

This weekend is the International Quilt Fest in Long Beach, CA. Unfortunately, I missed being there by one month, but I encourage anyone else in the area to go see the amazing quilts — to include the Twelve by Twelve exhibit of all our Theme quilts and all our Colorplay quilts. While there won’t be as many actual Twelves at the show as we had in Houston last November, Karen, Gerrie and Terry will be there. Please stop by and say hello!

23 Jul



Nice, no? It looks so “house” to me. And a bit on the formal side too. This is our new home in Charlottesville. Come on in…

House: Entry Hall

Here’s the entry hall. The layout of the house is a little odd, but it’s just a rental, so we’re more concerned with the overall space than perfect fluidity. Our “big furniture” fit in through the back door, so it’s all good.

House: Dining Room

To one side of the hall is the dining room. I think it’s my favorite room. Nice and light, and what I thought from hubby’s house hunting pics was a weird celery color on the walls is actually a perfect celery color for showcasing my pottery and art collection.

House: Dining Room

To the other side of the entry hall is a room we’re using for our computers, books and desks. It’s a big fat mess right now, so I’m not showing it off. Later. I’m not showing off the kitchen either, which is beyond the dining room and the hall. Nothing special there, except that there are no stainless steel appliances to clean obsessively — yay!

The other end of the kitchen space is the living room. There’s a big empty space between them, which I suppose is for a dining table, But I’ve never been fond of the whole formal plus informal dining room thing. Seems like waste of space to me. I’m on the lookout for a kitchen island since the new kitchen has twice the square footage of the old, yet half the cabinet space.


To make up for the lack of cabinet space, there’s an awesome laundry room. It has cabinets for my “fancy” china, some of my pottery collection, and all my daughter’s craft supplies, plus a little table to work on. She said she’ll do laundry in turn for use of the space. There’s also open shelves that have full on Martha Stewart potential, but I’m not even going to try to make these look color coordinated and tidy. No way.

House: Living Room

This is the living room, which looks totally lived in already. I love the painting above the fireplace. That is our Hawai’i. Red dirt and pineapple fields. Since the TV is on the wall opposite the couch, and we tend to flop on the floor anyway, I envision a couple of pillows and bean bags that look rock-like in this space. I can’t justify spending the big bucks on the felted ones in all the magazines, but I’m thinking I could felt my own little ones and DIY an appropriate beanbag cover or two. Then I wouldn’t worry too much if the family destroyed them either. There’s a really cool sliced tree stump coffee table in a consignment shop that I’m drooling over though…..

House: Guest/Sewing Room

Here’s a peek into the guest/sewing room. It’s off one side of the living room, and the home office is off the other side, so we can all be doing our thing and still be kinda together. I like that.

21 Jul

Ain’t Technology Grand

Honolulu Harbor near Niko's

We’ve been in Charlottesville three weeks and the new house frenzy is settling down. I’m always torn between taking my time and finding the deals on Craig’s List or in second hand stores, or just diving in and buying new. I have a tendency to choose the latter, especially as it starts with sheets and towels, which you want new, and then the shopping snowballs from there. Anyway, we’ve got a fancy new Energy Star rated washer and dryer, a new mattress which means the guest room has been upgraded from futon to real bed, and a lawn mower since we have a big lawn now and no gardner service.

But that’s not what I set out to write about. I’m not sure I had mentioned that all my blogging during the trip, both here and a few posts on the Twelve by Twelve blog, were done on my phone. I had originally intended on incorporating some time on hubby’s laptop, particularly for downloading photos from my good phone and uploading them to Flickr, but the laptop died early on and spent most of the trip with the geniuses at the Albuquerque Apple store. I took that as part of the challenge, and even when offered a “real computer” at the cousin’s house in Missouri, I checked email, but refused to blog on principle.

My experience? Not bad. In fact, it took me about three days after my computer was up and running here to stop going to the phone when I wanted to check email or catch up on Facebook. One fingered typing and reading glasses to see the small pics and type notwithstanding, I got in the habit of seeing my phone as my new computer.

I used the WordPress app for my blog and the Blogger app for contributing to Twelve by Twelve. Neither app has all the features of the online programs, but they are enough to get the job done. WordPress didn’t like to update a post once done, so I’d have to either copy and paste what I had written into a new post to replace the old one, or just live with the inevitable typo or three. I made sure that I took at least one photo with my phone everywhere we went. I even played around with Instagram and it’s filters — more for the nostalgic road-trip aesthetic than for any preference for photo sharing or picture quality. Including photos from my iPhoto library was easy enough. Facebook on the phone wasn’t wild about my links from my blog, so even though I had different photos on each post, when I posted an update on Facebook, all it would show in the thumbnail was part of my blog header. Not too enticing to potential viewers, but not worth worrying about.

In addition to using the phone as a phone, and for blogging and Facebook updates (which I have to thank everyone for following — it was great fun having so many friends and family virtually in the car with us), we also used the maps app for directions and a few apps for gas food and lodging. GasBuddy was a good one. It would find us the best price on gas nearby. Foursquare was another oft-used app. I wasn’t very good at it, but hubby was a power-user, finding recommended food and hotels within moments of arriving anywhere. iExit was supposed to tell us what was at the next exit(s), but it seemed to stick to the expected chains and truck stops and didn’t give us any independent suggestions like Foursquare did. We had a few apps from the hotel chains, but again, we tended to use Foursquare so we could compare all the available ones at one time.

So, I learned that I can blog from my phone and take advantage of social media to stay connected while on the road. We could take photos and share them, or not. We could find our way and find places to eat and spend the night. It was a far cry from phoning in reservations ahead of time, or taking our chances on something based on it’s proximity alone. And there was no awkward map folding or plotting of routes with different colored highlighters (though that stuff is half the fun of a road trip). It worked.

BTW, the photo above is part of Honolulu Harbor. There’s a big container ship in the background which could easily have been the one to carry hubby’s car in the enclosed area, and a container or two with all of our crates of belongings in the center area not yet fully loaded. Coming here we realized that all our moves have been either coming or going overseas and we’ve always been packed into big wooden crates — never directly into the big moving truck.

12 Jul

A Funny Story


In the last four days we’ve unpacked every single box in our house. Because we didn’t pack and label the moving boxes ourselves, and because of the wacky way our movers on the Hawaii end managed the pack-out (or not managed it as the case may be), and the illegible writing on the boxes, we really had no idea what was in each one.

On day one hubby unpacked the TV, but it wasn’t until the end of day four, and the very last box that we found the stand for it. Perhaps looking for the stand was motivation to keep him unpacking though.

See those nice little glass containers on the shelf? I thought I had unpacked all the kitchen stuff, but when I tried to put away some leftovers in one of those containers last night, I had no lids! I spent all afternoon today going through 12 boxes of packing paper thinking that I had missed the lids in the wrapping. I found a shot glass I was willing to live without, a nice drawing pencil, and a napkin ring, but no lids. So, I went back to look in the cabinets for aces to stash the lids, and, wouldn’t you know it, the lids had been in that blue lunch box the whole time!

02 Jul

Home Sweet Home?

So, we made it to our new home. Thirty-three days after leaving our rental house in Hawaii, we have now moved in to our new rental in Virginia. We drove 3926 miles across 12 states. Our shortest driving day was 108 miles from Long Beach, CA to Lake Arrowhead, CA. Our longest was the last day: 555 miles from Mammoth Cave to Charlottesville, VA. We stayed at eight hotels and six friends’ homes. We bought souvenir T shirts at the Grand Canyon, Schlafly Brewery in St Louis, and City Museum in St Louis. We scored T shirt swag from friend Sarah’s place of work and from the Progressive Insurance road trippers we met at the Mega Cavern. We lived out of five suitcases, two totes, a backpack and two purses. It’s all we could fit in the car.


Our first day in Charlottesville we shopped for new towels, a mattress and a washer dryer. It was time to upgrade all of these, and we hoped the bed could arrive at the house the same time as us. Unfortunately, not only is the area experiencing a heat wave with 100 degree heat, but a storm blew through and took our power for most of a day and still in some areas. Needless to say, our bed did not arrive on Monday as planned. We’d checked out of the hotel and into our house though, so tonight we sleep on the floor. Tomorrow night should be better.

Saturday I drove to northern Virginia to pick up our cat who had boarded in Hawaii while we road tripped. He flew non stop, and after a 2.5 hour drive back to the hotel, that poor boy had the longest pee ever! He ate a lot too, and slept most of the first night by my side.

Our “hold baggage” did arrive on Monday. It’s a small shipment timed to arrive quickly so you have some basics with which to set up house. The largest thing we’ve ever had in hold baggage was a crib that could be taken apart to pack flat. This time we had kitchen essentials, some clothes, and bedding. Oh, and my back up sewing machine just in case something went wrong with one shipment or the other; I didn’t want all my eggs in one basket. So we had our first home cooked meal in our house. Tacos on the floor!


Over the week the house will fill up: new bed Tuesday, Internet on Thursday, TV service on Friday, and hopefully our 12 crates of belongings on Friday too. A week from Wednesday mom arrives and we’ll work to figure out where everything needs to go, and might even paint a room or two. It won’t be too much longer before this house becomes a home. In the mean time, we’ll be figuring out how to get access to the community pool and maybe meet some neighbors.