Finished quilt: Day Dreaming by Cozy Quilt Designs

I finished a quilt last month. Amazing when you think about how busy I’ve been with birthday, ALA in Chicago, trip to Vegas and adding in an exercise regime.

In the past I’ve gone to The Granary in Sunnyvale for their monthly Happy Hour. Relax, it’s not a bar. It’s a quilt shop. I started going to force myself to expand my quilting horizons… And that it has.

Happy Hour gives you a pattern and most of the fabric for a quilt. Everyone gets the same fabric, but you make it your own with the addition of a background, borders and binding. I’ve made quilts in patterns and colors that I wouldn’t typically try, like Day Dreaming by Cozy Quilt.

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The colors in the quilt are definitely not my style, but that’s the point, right? Unfortunately they look washed out in all the photos I’ve taken, but they’re not. They’re really much richer than they appear.

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Here’s a close up so you can see what I mean. Also, you can see my quilting.

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And here’s the borders and binding. The backing is a buttery yellow flannel so it’s nice and soft.

Still not my style, but I’m glad I’m branching out. :)

Not Actively Looking

We’re still house hunting…  In the course of our house hunt, we offered on a number of houses.  We’ve lost out on each one.  One of the houses is back on the market only a few months after it was initially purchased.

They bought it at $380,000 cash.  Public records showed that purchase price and I knew the winning bidder was an all cash offer.

They painted the cabinets in the kitchen and put in granite counter tops.

They refinished the hardwood floors and painted the rest of the rooms.

They listed it for sale again a few days ago at $425,000.

 

That’s the way the housing market is going in California.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the market crashes again.

In the mean time, we’re still looking and have offered on a few.  We’re being priced out of the market.  So, the new plan is to keep our pre-approval current, but stop “actively” looking unless something good really pops up.  By “actively looking” we mean looking at multiple houses every week, even ones in not so good neighborhoods.

House hunting, dead cars, and quilting

Well, we’re still house hunting. We’ve made offers on 5 houses now and each one has fallen through. It’s a bit disappointing and discouraging because in every case the sellers have gone with offers that are made by investors. People who have no intention of living in these houses or contributing to these neighborhoods. Instead, they plan to rent the houses out at the very least, or maybe even flip them.

I really do worry about what that does to the community and neighborhood that these sellers are leaving behind. I mean, yeah, the seller gets an all-cash offer without having to pass through contingencies, but at what cost to others?

The thing is that we’re offering over the asking prices with 20% down on a pre-approved loan. We just can’t compete against someone offering all cash and waiving all contingencies. In one case the seller wanted to see at least 50% of the purchase price in cash in the bank. Seriously! I wanted to be snippy and say that if I had that much money in the bank, I sure as hell wouldn’t be buying in that community! But I didn’t. Instead we responded that the offer is as stands.

One of my coworkers said that a house went up for sale down the street from her. The sellers were asking $490,000. They had 15 offers, one of which was $530,000 cash with no contingencies and another was $540,000 financed while waiving the appraisal contingency. My coworker said that the house was a dump and should never have sold for that price… but it did.

And now house prices are going up again. Interest rates are still super low and the inventory is low as well. Those two things combined mean that demand is high so prices are high. It also means that things are selling super quickly – I’ve heard that the average time on the market for houses in our area is 7 days. Can you believe it? A week and your house is sold.

Add into that, now, that my car died. Yes, my beloved Saturn SL2 that I bought with money left from my Dad’s death finally croaked. I donated it to the Polly Klaas Foundation, so at least it went to a good cause. But now we’re a one car household. It’s not nearly as much fun as it sounds. A new car is not an expense that I really wanted quite yet.

Oh well… This is kind of a Debbie Downer of a post, but it’s what’s going on right now.

I did finish a couple of quilts.

This Black & White one I made for my friend/coworker J. It took a long time to piece and quilt – about 20 hours total. The back is Minky, which is kind of a pain to work with, but it all worked out.

The Front of J's Quilt just after I finished

The Front of J’s Quilt just after I finished

 

The border and closeup of the squares

The border and closeup of the squares

 

J's Quilt on her Sofa

J’s Quilt on her Sofa

 

I also finished this wall quilt with an Asian flair.  I got all of the fabrics and the pattern on clearance when my favorite quilt store closed.  It didn’t take too long to piece and quilt, maybe 6 or 7 hours total.  The most finicky part was making sure I had the center cut and pieced properly.  The most annoying and time consuming part was hand stitching the rod pocket on the back.  Have I mentioned how much I hate hand stitching?  This will be hung in my office at work – the colors actually go really well!  I call it “Peacocks and Peonies.”

Front

Front

Back

Back

Detail

Detail

Diagonal

Diagonal

 

So that’s it for now…

Think good thoughts

We put in an offer on a house yesterday… please think good thoughts for us and keep your fingers crossed!!!

Other than that semi-big news, there’s nothing new to report.

We scattered Mom’s ashes near Big Tree Wayside in the California Redwoods. The area we chose had a baby tree growing out of a burned out shell of a tree, surrounded by a grove of cathedral trees. Super pretty – and I remember visiting that area with Mom so many years ago!

We also had her memorial. I gave her eulogy. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Maybe I just practiced it enough that it became more comfortable. The weird thing about me is that I’m much more comfortable going up in front of a crowd and giving a speech than I am to go into a small group and make small talk. That’s something I need to work on, I think.

On February 23rd we had a little get together at our house to watch the first female UFC fight. I had fun and met a couple of the people DH does Jiu Jitsu with.

One of our long-time librarians is retiring, so her work is being divvied up among everyone until we can fill her vacancy. I’ll be taking over adult book displays, teen volunteers and meeting room calendars. I’m looking forward to the book displays – I’ve had a few ideas over the years. The teen volunteers kinda feels like a hydra just because of the scale, but it’s something I’m familiar with from all of my time at my old branches. The meeting room calendars are a pain, but I’ll suck it up and do it.

That’s it for now… time to figure out lunch and then see about dinner.

I’m still alive

I’m still here… things have been busy around here. I’ve been preparing for Mom’s memorial, trying to play nice with my sister (for now), and doing my best to keep things together. It’s hard, though, you know?

So, either way, DH and I went for a jog today. My first since the half marathon. That was pretty tough even though it was only a minute of jogging at a time. Exercise helps with depression, and I need to start training for the next half marathon anyway, right?

Then my brother came over to cook for us. It was delicious. And I worked on the scrapbook for the memorial. And I bought new eyeglasses. And I finally put away the Christmas tree/decorations (yes, I know it’s February). I still have Christmas presents to give out too. And my car’s transmission is going, which makes me a bit sad and scared.

I just feel like I need a week off with nothing to do but quilt and center myself. I want to be alone in my quiet house so that I can just relax without anyone or anything needing attention. Maybe that’ll come sometime in March. A gal can hope, right?

I think I’ll feel better once I have the scrapbook done for the memorial because then I won’t have such a messy dining room table. I’ll be able to put all the scrapbooking stuff away and just focus on scanning all the old photos I came across on my nifty new scanner. Of course the photos are all being labelled and filed on my computer like any good librarian would do. :)

But for now my days are filled with scrapbooking, scanning and trying to keep a good balance. Wish me luck.

Mom is gone

My mom passed away on Sunday, January 27th. Although she was in hospice, her death was sudden.

In some ways it’s a relief because I don’t have to worry about her any more. In a different way it’s like I lost her all over again.

I started a blog that will be filled with memories of mom. It’s called Dear Mama. I think it’ll help me work through some of the feelings I have. I hope that it will keep her memory alive in some way as well.

If you’re inclined, you can visit the new blog at http://memoriesofmama.wordpress.com.

Tinkerbell Half Marathon

It’s time for a race recap!

Last weekend I ran (and walked, and hobbled) my way through the 13.1 mile course that made up the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in Anaheim. My husband was by my side the whole way. :) I also ran the same race in 2012 and I remember thinking “ugh, this was a dumb idea”… and then I signed up for it again. Silly, right?

DH and I had grand plans for our training when it came to this race. We’d planned on completing Couch to 5k (AKA C25K), then Bridge to 10k, and then continue adding miles until we reached the 13 mile distance. With my depression, injuries, and lack of drive, and his injuries and illness… let’s just say training was an afterthought.

Last year I didn’t get to train for the month before the race because of the injuries I sustained during a training run. At 6:30am I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and bounced several times on my chest, hips and head. I passed out twice. A homeless person said hello. I had no idea where I was but somehow managed to call my brother for help. Basically, I got a concussion, broke my nose, cracked a rib and scraped every bony protrusion. I ran the race anyway, even with my still cracked rib. I can be determinedly stupid sometimes.

This year I ran with no real training and with tendonitis in my ankle – again with the determinedly stupid.

Last year, the race had soooo many spectators and performers along the route. It was awesome! There were marching bands, cheerleaders, hula dancers, UPS guys, Red Hat Ladies, neighbors and more the entire way. This year? Not so much. I felt bad because I’d talked it up to DH, and this year the race didn’t provide. :( It wasn’t all bad, though. There was a Michael Jackson impersonator, and the Red Hat Ladies (who are totally awesome BTW) took up a whole block. And some of the neighbors even came out with their iPods and boom boxes to play music for us along the way.

I did well until about mile 7. Then it all went downhill. Running became sooo much harder. My legs were stiffening up. My ankle started hurting again. I was getting cranky and annoyed with the whole damn thing. Around Mile 10 my mood started to improve. My husband remarked on my improved speed (my jogging speed is his walking speed). I even ran for a minute or so. Then I walked again.

At mile 13 the finish line was in sight. It looked like a straight shot so I said “I’m gonna run this thing!” Then I hit the first curve and felt like crying. I walked until the finish line was truly in sight, then we jogged our way there. DH and I jumped over the finish line hand in hand at 3:28:56.

Now, I’m doctoring my toenails and left achilles. I have blisters under 4 of my toenails. It looks like I’ll probably lose 3 with all the strange colors they’re turning. Oh well… they’ll grow back. I’m also getting ready to show my finisher’s medal to my mom. She was my reason for making sure I finished this time. Before I left, she said she wanted to see my medal – so she’ll definitely see it! :)

I’m also planning out a new training program for our next half marathon. Maybe we’ll budget for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Orlando this year. It all depends on if we buy a house and if I can talk my husband into it… we’ll see!

I made poor food decisions pretty much the entire weekend. So, now I’m getting back on track and working towards my weight loss goals. I’m not going to beat myself up too much about the food choices at Disneyland. It was a vacation, I didn’t go hog wild, and I know what I need to do to be healthier.

That’s all for now!

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